Defensive Standout Brian Latham

"I see this season as being a great season. I believe the old and the new players are dedicated to work hard in Coach Penders' system, but what player wouldn't, it's a great system." - Brian Latham

Brian Latham entered the University of Houston last year as a junior after helping Midland JC to a third place finish in the national JUCO tournament. He received the Brad Obee award as the MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER at the tournament as a player who is under 6'1". He also was named Midland's CO-MVP and won Midland's team academic excellence award in both freshmen and sophomore years. Brian quickly became a fan favorite for his suffocating defense.

JM - Brian being from Memphis Tennessee, tell CoogFans how you ended up at the University of Houston and how it felt to defeat Memphis last season.
BL - I ended up at UofH because of the influence of Coach Penders. I knew of his coaching history and wanted to play for him. It felt good, but it was just another win with an extra spice.

JM - Brian, academics are obviously very important to you. Your mother is a retired teacher and you your father the dean of minority affairs at the University of Memphis. Please tell CoogFans what your family has meant to you and how they have instilled the value of education in you.
BL - The family is very important in my life. Having parents like mine are great because all they want is for me to do my best and give it my all. They are always supporting and there for me.

JM - Brian you established your presence as a defensive player from the very beginning of last season. You led the team in steals with 84 and were second in blocks 17. Tell us what makes you such a sensational defensive player?
BL - Just the thrill of getting after it. Since being at UofH, even the crowd seems to get into it when myself or one my teammates gets a steal.

JM - Brian, Tom Penders was quoted as saying you had the biggest impact as any first year player he has ever had. In Tom's system wing players are expected to shoot the open three, have you been working on that this summer and where do you feel you can improve your game the most this season?
BL - I have been doing a whole lot of shooting, shooting and more shooting. Just working on things I was weak in last year.

JM - Brian you played for Shannon Hays at Midland. You also will have two former teammates on this year's Cougar Basketball team. Did having some familiar faces with you help you to ease into D1 basketball?
BL - Yes it did. I already had some familiar faces plus the rest of the team was really cool.

JM - What would you say is the biggest adjustment a player must make coming from junior college to major college basketball?
BL - I really can't say. Then intensity is higher, but if you already have intensity it isn't that big of a difference, so it depends on the player.

JM - Brian we saw how you impacted a game with your defense. We have heard Tristan Martin, another Midland JC product is similar to you defensively. You played with Tristan your sophomore year at Midland. What can you tell us about Tristan and can we expect him to push you for BEST defensive player honors?
BL - I loved playing with Tristan. I felt like we were a great defensive tandem. I knew if someone got passed me he was there to cover and vice-versa.

JM - Brian what are your thoughts regarding the upcoming 2005/2006 season at UofH? With the influx of seven talented players there will be quite a battle fro playing time. How improved will the team be in Tom's system for a second year and how long will it take to integrate the new players into his system?
BL - I see this season as being a great season. I believe the old and the new players are dedicated to work hard in Coach Penders' system, but what player wouldn't, it's a great system.

JM - Brian do you have any final thoughts for CoogFans as you enter your senior season?
BL - GO COOGS!! This will be a great year!!!

Thank You Brian and Best Wishes this season 81Coog
Joe Martin

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