Jahmar Thorpe fulfills his Dreams

"I was being recruited by Rutgers, Seton Hall, Texas Tech, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. I knew Coach Penders was a really good coach. When I came here and met the players they all seemed very hungry. Conference-USA is a very good conference and Houston is one of the hot teams in it. They had a really strong recruiting class and I felt like Houston was back on the map and will be where they are supposed to be, back in the tournament." - Jahmar Thorpe

RS - Jahmar, where are you from and when did you start playing ball?
JT - I am from Morristown NJ and started playing basketball when I was in the ninth grade. I have always had a love for the game. I wasn't always that good and put a lot of extra work into it. I have taken the long road to get here, I feel so please with where I am at now and how far I have come.

RS - What is you current height and weight, and do you know what your vertical is?
JT - I am 6'6" and 230 lbs and the last time I checked my vertical was 37 inches.

RS - It seems you have made big improvements from high school to junior college, what has the difference been?
JT - It has just been work ethic and determination. I had offers from DII coming out of high school, but went to junior college to prove my self and it was the best way for me to get recognition (from DI schools). Coach Hays had a chance to see me play and I liked what he saw.

RS - Have there been any influential people who have helped develop your game?
JT - It has basically been all self-motivation. I didn't want to settle for less and I just pushed myself.

RS - Do you have any role models who you pattern your game after?
JT - I wouldn't say role model, but as far as performance, I really like the way Dewayne Wade plays. I hope one day I will be able to play against him, or with him.

RS - Please tell us about your JC team and what your role on that team was.
JT - In JC I played every position on the court 1-5. We weren't very successful (9-18). I averaged a double-double and did what I could but we had a tough time winning.

RS - What is your most memorable moment as a player?
JT - My most memorable moment is signing my National Letter of Intent to play basketball at the University of Houston.

RS - What other schools recruited you and why did you decide to play basketball at the University of Houston?
JT - I was being recruited by Rutgers, Seton Hall, Texas Tech, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. I knew Coach Penders was a really good coach. When I came here and met the players they all seemed very hungry. Conference-USA is a very good conference and Houston is one of the hot teams in it. They had a really strong recruiting class and I felt like Houston was back on the map and will be where they are supposed to be, back in the tournament.

RS - At what point did you believe you could play at this level?
JT - I guess after I started playing in the ProAms and summer leagues I realized I could play at this level. I played against some good players such as Taquan Dean (Louisville), Mike Nardi (Villanova) and some really good players from overseas.

RS - What do you know about Tom Penders style of ball and what are your early impressions about the system he runs?
JT - I like the system because he runs at a fast pace. We are a run and gun, full court defensive team who presses the entire game. I love being able to get up and down the court.

RS - After having a chance to play with most of the team now, what are your thoughts and are there any particular players who have stood out to you?
JT - Of course our point guard Lanny Smith, he is the leader of our team. He gets the job done and we have to back him up. Also Ramon Dyer, he is a senior and hasn't made the tournament yet and he is ready to do his thing. Our chemistry is really good right now and the newcomers are just looking to play a role and be a piece of the puzzle.

RS - As a player, what attributes will you bring to the team and what do you feel like you still need to work on the most before the start of the season?
JT - I will bring rebounding, intensity and scoring, but overall I just want to bring victories to the team. I understand we had a lot of close games last year and we want to get over the hump. We have a deep squad and I feel with a little extra effort and adrenaline we should do real well next season.

RS - What are your personal goals for the season?
JT - I do not mind starting or coming off the bench. Like I said, it is all about us winning. If I have to play 40 minutes per game or five minutes per game it is all about victories. We do not need anyone worrying about how many minutes they are getting.

RS - Do you see yourself playing any other positions besides power forward?
JT - I see myself playing a lot at the three. I have played it for quite a while, on and off. My main goal before I leave here is to be able to play the two and get to the next level at that position. I will need to work overtime on my jump shot and ball handling to get to where I need to be and want to be.

RS - I understand you have been having problems with your hand. Please tell us what you know and what the timetable for recovery might be.
JT - I just strained something in my hand, it will be fine.

RS - Tell us about your current workout routine and how it compared to what you are used to in high school and junior college.
JT - Well in junior college there was no working out. It wasn't very structured compared to here, where I concentrate on eating, running, playing ball and lifting. Everyone here is getting stronger, quicker, faster, as well as putting on the right weight to play at this level. It gives us the confidence we need to compete. Coach Penders just wants us to run and get in shape and that is what we are doing.

My schedule here is…..
• 5:30 wake-up
• 6:00 get to the gym
• Go to the track for sprints or speed work
• I come back inside and run some more
• Then I lift weights
• Then I shower and get ready for class
• In the evening I come back and play basketball with my teammates

RS - What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the University of Houston?
JT - Run and Gun basketball. We don't have any seven footers. The tallest guy on our team is about 6'8", but he runs just like a guard.

RS - Are you familiar with Phi Slamma Jamma and the greats who have played before you?
JT - I actually heard about it when I was recruited. I know one of my new coaches, Coach Young played on it. It is nice to be at a school with such rich tradition. We just need to put this program back on the map.

RS - Are you familiar with the role Michael Young played for those teams?
JT - I know he was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 18th pick in the draft and was a great player and started on those teams. Even though he didn't win a national championship, he went to three Final Fours in a row and how many other people can say they did that much?

RS - What do you plan on studying and what are your ambitions following school?
JT - I am in the sociology field. I plan to play professional basketball somewhere. It might not be in the NBA, but every Division 1 players has that dream to play at the next level. Hopefully that dream comes true, but if not, I will settle with my degree in sociology and take it from there.

RS - Do you ever read CoogFans.com?
JT - I haven't read it yet, but I have heard of it and it will check it out sometime.

RS - Are there any last words you would like to say to all the Cougar fans out there?
JT - Everyone come on out and enjoy watching us this year, we are going to be a heck of a team.

RWCOOGS


Cougar Digest Top Stories