Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead earns All-America 1st-Team honor ahead of 2024 March Madness

UH alum and Detroit Pistons player Marcus Sasser was named to the 2023 All-America First Team.

ByMatt Guillermo KTRK logo
Wednesday, March 20, 2024
Shead gives UH an All-America 1st-team selection in back-to-back years
The Associated Press named Jamal Shead to its All-American Men's Basketball First Team, which gave Houston a selection in back-to-back seasons.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If the hobbling Houston Cougars hope to make a deep run in the Big Dance, the No. 1 seeded team in March Madness' South Region will likely lean on play-making point guard Jamal Shead, who the Associated Press named to its All-America First Team on Tuesday.

The four-year senior leader gave the University of Houston men's basketball team All-America honors in back-to-back seasons after Marcus Sasser, now in the NBA, was selected last year.

Purdue's Zach Eady, Tennessee's Dalton Knecht, North Carolina's RJ Davis, and UConn's Tristen Newton round out the first-team roster.

Eyewitness Sports reported on head coach Kelvin Sampson glowing about his 6-foot-1-inch court captain this past season, describing him as "the greatest leader I've ever coached." Shead returned the endorsement, calling the former Final Four coach as the best in America.

"(Coach Sampson) has the utmost belief in you and the most trust in you whenever you earn it, and he never, never wavers with that," Shead said ahead of the Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament.

The AP All-America selection adds to Shead's Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12.

And if words aren't enough to convince you of Shead's impact, here are some stats. Shead tied for second in steals-per-game and third in assists-per-game among all Big 12 players this season.

Nationally, Shead ranked 17th in assists with 6.2 a game and tied for 11th in assists at 2.3.

Shead plays a significant role in the team's total defense, ranked first in the nation in points allowed and third in points differential.

Sizing up Longwood

On Tuesday, ESPN Bet favors Houston over the No. 16-seeded Longwood Lancers of the Big South Conference by 24.5 points after UH opened as a minus-23.5-point favorite.

ESPN Analytics overwhelmingly sides with the Cougars, giving them a 98.6% chance to enter the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament's Second Round.

Longwood, located in Farmville, Virginia, between Richmond and Lynchburg, finished fifth in its conference's regular season but won seven of its last nine games, including in the Big South tourney, to make it to Memphis.

Despite astronomical odds, attorney/businessman-turned-college hoops head coach Griff Aldrich guides the Lancers. Aldrich has a history with a 16-seed upset bid of a first seed. He was on the 2018 University of Maryland-Baltimore County coaching staff that stunned the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers.

Houston's odds are good to escape the first round, but you should also consider where the Coogs are playing ball. UH has deep ties with the city of Memphis, going back to 2000 when Houston and the University of Memphis Tigers were steady conference mates through multiple leagues. According to the UH athletics department, the Coogs are 4-15 when playing against Memphis in Tennessee, including just three wins at FedEx Forum, the Friday night game site.

Nevertheless, the Coogs will head to Elvis Presley's beloved hometown on Wednesday, and the school wants fans to come out to a send-off at 12:30 p.m. at the Guy V. Lewis Development Center.

SEE ALSO: Houston Cougars sophomore Jamal Shead praised for picking up trash spilled after loss at Alabama

UH Cougars player Jamal Shead is being applauded for picking up trash that was spilled when a Houston teammate toppled over a trash can at Alabama.