Busting Brackets
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AAC Basketball: 25 best players from last decade (2013-23)

Mar 5, 2020; Storrs, Connecticut, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson talks to guard Quentin Grimes (24) and guard Marcus Sasser (0) after a play against the Connecticut Huskies in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Houston 77-71. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2020; Storrs, Connecticut, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson talks to guard Quentin Grimes (24) and guard Marcus Sasser (0) after a play against the Connecticut Huskies in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Houston 77-71. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /
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AAC Basketball Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
AAC Basketball Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

23. Jamal Shead

Shead, a 6’1 guard from Manor, Texas, made his way to Houston just three years ago and has seen his role grow with the Cougars in recent years. Houston has become an elite program in college basketball and Shead’s role in the backcourt has been a big reason these last couple of seasons. He’ll be back for the Cougars next season in the Big 12, but his work in the AAC was certainly enough for inclusion.

With a slew of elite guards on the Cougars during his freshman season, Shead didn’t see much run early in his career. He came up big as a sophomore after Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark were lost to season-ending injuries, including a 21-point effort against Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen. Shead averaged at least 10 points and 5 assists in each of the last two seasons as a full-time starter in Houston’s backcourt, helping the program to an impressive 93-14 mark.

Shead has been a force on both sides of the ball and was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year this past season. Twice an All-AAC honoree, Shead has been at or near the top of the league in steals and assists since joining the starting rotation and has been one of the Cougars’ most important pieces. He’ll be even more important next year with Sasser and Mark departing the program.