Jamal Shead's viral gesture after Houston Cougars loss reemerges amid March Madness

ByMatt Guillermo KTRK logo
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
UH player goes viral for gesture in midst of tough loss
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.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Cougars men's basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson already revealed that senior guard Jamal Shead is the "greatest leader I've ever coached."

However, not many college basketball observers outside of Houston saw the Manor, Texas, native demonstrate that trait until Sunday when the Coogs narrowly escaped a March Madness upset against Texas A&M to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in Dallas.

With backcourt cohort L.J. Cryer disqualified from the game due to fouls, Shead dished two of his 10 total assists on crucial baskets in overtime to survive.

As the team's facilitator, Shead had to pick up the pieces of a lost 13-point lead, a rare messy moment for a typically disciplined Sampson-coached program.

Two days after the hard-fought victory, ESPN SportsCenter reminded its 38.6 million Instagram followers and countless other algorithmic users about No. 1's captaincy with a post about a viral moment from his sophomore season.

In all caps, SportsCenter captioned, "LEADERSHIP FROM JAMAL SHEAD," while explaining a moment from the 2021 season.

"After a hard-fought game vs. Alabama, his teammates knocked over a trash can on the way off the court. Jamal stayed and picked up the mess," the caption read along with a split-screen image of that moment.

"In 2024, Jamal put 21 points on the board with a dagger in OT to lead No. 1 seed Houston to the Sweet Sixteen," the caption continued.

The post also provided a video of Shead's moment in Tuscaloosa, which Alabama student Austin Rader initially captured.

A report on Shead's moment from December 2021 is in the video player above.

Screenshot from SportsCenter's Instagram feed

Eyewitness News also reported on the moment and Alabama fans' reaction to Shead's gesture days after.

"Shoutout Jamal Shead for picking up the trash," Rader posted.

"Thats (sic) what class looks like. His teammates should learn from him," user Butlebj posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The moment's reemergence also came after the first-team All-American was named a Naismith Trophy Player of the Year finalist.

All honors and viral moments aside, the No. 1 Coogs are zeroing in on a Friday matchup with the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils in the South Region semifinals. The game determines one of the two Elite Eight teams fighting for a Final Four spot.

Like last week, the school announced a Sweet Sixteen send-off, set for 1:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Guy V. Lewis Development Center.

More coverage on UH's March Madness run