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Houston Cougars guard Quentin Grimes is lighting up the box score. He shares why his on-court confidence is peaking

Houston's Quentin Grimes (24) is challenged by East Carolina's Miles James (42) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Greenville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
Houston's Quentin Grimes (24) is challenged by East Carolina's Miles James (42) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Greenville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – Houston Cougars’ Quentin Grimes said he is back playing in a good rhythm.

The sophomore guard had a strong performance in victory over the University of South Florida, collecting 22 points, six rebounds and five assists.

“The easiest guys to motivate are the kids with high self-esteem… his body language, his confidence is coming up,” head coach Kelvin Sampson said about Grimes.

KPRC 2 caught up with Grimes in a one-on-one interview to learn more about his will to win.

KPRC 2: Coach Sampson talks a lot about not getting too high or too low. Did that mindset play into your thought process after the early conference struggles?

Grimes: “Definitely. I knew something was going to happen at one point. It just happened to be earlier in the conference. Right now, I feel like my teammates have my back 110%. So right now, everything is starting to click for me and the team as well.”

KPRC 2: What do you need to do to grow your game and become the player you ultimately want to be?

Grimes: “Just being a lot more consistent, being more vocal out there on the court, being more of a leader. The offensive is going to come with the shots, and playmaking is always going to come naturally. Staying more in tune on defense... taking those next steps for sure.”

KPRC 2: Coach Sampson also mentioned you need to be more aggressive overall, especially grabbing rebounds. Is that something on your mind for the coming games?

Grimes: “Yes, he’s been on me about grabbing boards, probably the last four or five games. I have been trying to grab at least four or five. When I get it, I can push the break and make something happen for us.”

KPRC 2: With Sampson’s success as far as coaching guards, especially getting them to the next level, does that allow you to trust him to coach you?

Grimes: “He is hard on everybody, and it shows that he cares. If he wasn’t hard on me, it would probably be a bad thing. Knowing all the guards he has coached like Eric Gordon and (James) Harden, those are two guys who I inspire to be like. Just having him every day, learning from him, taking bits of things and trying to apply it to get to that next level.”

KPRC 2: How deep is the team?

Grimes: “Having five guards that can get you 20 (points) any night, can get hot from three any night, makes us a really hard team to scout. I feel like that alone sets us apart. From me, Caleb, Marcus, Dejon, Nate, Ced coming off the bench, a lot of energy makes us different from other teams.

KPRC 2: Now that you have been here for a while, how close would you say this team is?

Grimes: “I think this is one of the closest teams I have been around, including AAU, high school ball and everything. We all get along. We can hit anybody up and go get something to eat. Or just hang out, play video games and chill. So this team is just really super close.”

KPRC 2: What does the team need to do to reach the ultimate goals? I know it’s conference first, then eventually the NCAA Tournament.

Grimes: "Playing hard, tough nose, rebounding, and defense really. Because we know every night isn’t going to be a good shooting night. If it is... we should beat any team by 20. But we know every night, not all shots are going to fall. So we have to stick to our roots, crash the glass super hard and play super hard on defense.”