By RENALDO DORSETT
The University of Houston’s Basketball programme will have a strong Bahamian connection this fall after the transfer of LJ Rose to the Cougars.
After an underwhelming freshman season at Baylor, Rose - a former top high school basketball prospect with Bahamian roots - announced that he will join the Cougars this fall and will seek a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to be eligible for the upcoming season.
He joins a Houston programme which features redshirt junior Mikhail McClean and will welcome Danrad Knowles as he becomes eligible for the 2013-14 season.
When Rose made the announcement in 2012 that he would attend Baylor University, flanked by Hall of Famers Moses Malone and Clyde Drexler and his father Lynden Rose, he was expected to be one of the cornerstones of the programme.
Now, following sparse playing time in his freshman year and posting 0.9 points and 1.2 assists, Rose has decided to leave the Bears programme.
“Family has always been the most important thing to me,” Rose told ESPN.com. “With my mother’s situation, [Houston] was the obvious choice.”
He told ESPN that his mother, Marilyn, has been stricken with lupus, one of his deciding factors in choosing to transfer.
At 6’4” 185 pounds, and a true point guard with a pass-first mentality, Rose was the ninth-ranked point guard in the class of 2012 by ESPN.com coming out of Westbury Christian Academy. He chose Baylor over Arizona, Memphis and Georgetown.
Rose is the son of Lynden Sr and Marilyn Rose and comes from a strong basketball bloodline following the success of his father and his uncle, Cecil Rose.
Lynden Sr played collegiately at Houston, where he was a member of Phi Slama Jama, and was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the sixth round of the 1982 NBA Draft. He went on to play professionally in the CBA and Europe and at the national level, he played for the Bahamas in the 1991 Pan American Games.
Cecil Rose also played collegiately for the Cougars and was selected in the 1978 draft by the New Jersey Nets.
Cecil was a member of the famous “Miami Jackson Five” which included Mychal Thompson and played for the Bahamas at the 1977 Pan American Games.
McClean gained recent notoriety this season, major recognition for the work he does in his community.
McLean was recently presented with the Conference USA Winter Spirit of Service Award, one of 12 Conference-USA student-athletes to achieve the honour.
According to Conference-USA, the award is doled out to “recognise the community service efforts of the league’s student-athletes, based upon significant community service, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport.”
This past season, McLean saw action in 26 games with 11 starts with an average of 13.3 minutes per game.
A 6’8” forward, he averaged 2.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game and shot 49 per cent from the field. He scored a career-high 12 points against Marshall and grabbed a career high nine boards against TCU.
In the classrom, McLean, a former St John’s College Giant, graduated this summer with a major in health and a minor in human and developmental consumer science and merchandising.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in three years, he plans to attend graduate school.
In his sophomore season, McLean competed in the first five games of the season but was lost for the remainder of the year after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right foot in early December. He received a medical redshirt for the year.
Knowles may be the most intriguing prospect of the trio after being academically ineligible last season, he enters the year as a redshirt freshman.
Knowles was ranked 51st in the ESPN top 100, according the ESPN with a scout’s grade of 94.
The 6’ 10” forward was 13th at his position in the state, 10th in the region and seventh in the state of Texas.