Houston Cougars star Tramon Mark carries Final Four souvenir backpack to Sweet Sixteen

Mark's 2021-2022 season ended after shoulder surgery, which kept him out of the Coogs' Elite Eight run.

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Friday, March 24, 2023
What's at stake for UH? Coogs' backpack serves as reminder
Tramon Mark and his Coogs are two wins away from getting to play in a Final Four in their own backyard. It's something that his own backpack reminds him of everytime he carries it.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With a trip to the Final Four two wins away, one thing is different about this tourney journey for UH's Tramon Mark.

"I didn't take it with me last trip, but I had to take it this trip," Mark, a junior guard for the Coogs, explained to ABC13 Thursday.

"It" is a backpack given to Mark and the Cougars for participating in the 2021 Final Four. As shown in a picture of the team's departure from Houston on Wednesday morning, the guard carries it - and it carries significance for him.

"Getting that backpack my freshman year, all the things we went through that year leading up to that point - it's a backpack I love," Mark admitted. "Anywhere I go I usually take it."

Tramon, the redshirt sophomore from Dickinson, has his Coogs two victories away from returning to the Final Four. In UH's second round win vs. Auburn, he scored a career-high 26 points. That performance and this run comes one year after having to watch his team lose in the regional final while out with an injury.

"It's a great feeling knowing I can help out the team and come out and win these games," Mark said. "I just want to do what I need to do to help us win and advance to the next round."

"He has no ego," Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson said of Mark. "Tramon has no idea how good he is - but he knows he's good. I was happy for Tramon. It couldn't happen at a better time for a better guy."

With a win against Miami and then another win Sunday, Tramon won't need to pack nearly as much in that 2021 Final Four backpack because he and the Coogs will be playing in Houston for the 2023 Final Four.

SEE ALSO: Sweet Sixteen matchup marks 1st UH vs. Miami men's basketball game in 52 years

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