Jarreau, Grimes relationship strong since Day 1, Coogs ready for Sweet 16

UH, Syracuse meet tonight in Sweet 16

The Houston Cougars are American Athletic Conference Champions for the second season in a row, clinching a tie at the top of the conference at 13-5. (KPRC 2)

INDIANAPOLIS – When Quentin Grimes graduated from The Woodlands College Park High School he was a prized recruit and landed in Lawrence, Kansas to play for Bill Self and the Jayhawks. .

One year at KU and Grimes didn’t feel it was a long term fit. A change was needed and home was calling.

The home was Houston and a chance to transfer to UH to play for Kelvin Sampson.

“On my visit, I played with the guys and DeJon (Jarreau) and I were on the same squad. I really felt right at home pretty much right away,” said Grimes on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s Sweet 16 game with Syracuse.

When a transfer arrives, especially one as highly touted as Grimes, there’s using a sizing up period to see if it’s a fit. That process didn’t take long.

“Not really at all, we played on the same team that day and I tried to get him the ball,” said Jarreau. “The main thing we all needed to see was could the two of us play together and it worked out well. We won some games that day and the rest is history.

From that day forward the bond between Grimes and Jarreau grew and hasn’t let up since.

“I hosted him on that visit and DM’d him a lot,” added Jarreau. “I knew all about his game when he played his first game for Kansas and hit seven threes. I knew what type of player he was but I needed to see how tough he was. He adjusted to our culture very well.”

Now the two UH roommates are on the big stage of March Madness set to play the Orangeman in the Sweet 16. A victory sends UH to the Elite 8 for the first time in 37 years when the 1984 Phi Slamma Jamma group made their final appearance.

“It would mean a lot obviously,” said Jarreau. “To us, our coaches and staff and of course to the City of Houston but first we have our work cut out for ourselves with Syracuse.”

Grimes added, “It shows we have a chance to do something special and do something that hasn’t been done in a long time. We have a chance to show the world just how good we are.”

Grimes and Jarreau will need big games for the Cougars’ journey to continue. The guys will be facing Syracuse’s Zone defense that has proven itself through Coach Jim Boeheim’s career. The open looks will be there for the Cougars and Saturday they hope the results will be as well.

UH and Syracuse tip-off at 8:55 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University just 15 minutes from downtown Indy.