There are no superstars on this year's Sam Houston State men's basketball team.

Leading scorers vary from game to game and no player has averaged more than 14 points at any significant stretch of the season.

The Bearkats lack experience and are starting a true freshman at center and three other players that didn't play last year.

But one factor has been a constant factor for the 2011-12 Kats. He is forward Marcus James, the only returning letterman from last year's Southland Conference West Division championship team that has seen action in every game.

Still, if the season ended today for Sam Houston, the most valuable player on the team would be senior forward Marcus James.

Head coach Jason Hooten praises James because of his committment to doing whatever is asked of him, no matter how big or small the task is.

"Marcus hasn't said one word back to me since he's been here, other than 'yes sir'," Hooten said earlier in the season. "Marcus does whatever we ask him to do, works just as hard as anybody and it's just a pleasure to coach him."

The Bearkats return to Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum Wednesday night for an important Southland Conference matchup with Texas State. Tip is at 7 p.m. and James will be a big part of the SHSU game plan.

James transferred to Sam Houston in 2010 after being an all-conference performer at Seward County Community College in Kansas.

Before that, James was all-state as a high school prospect in Connecticut, while averaging 22 points and eight rebounds as a senior.

That's what made his adjustment in becoming a role player slightly difficult once he got to Sam Houston.

James knew he was coming to a special team because he'd seen as much on television, when Sam Houston ran through the Southland Conference in 2010 and on to the NCAA tournament.

"When I got here, I'd seen Gilberto (Clavell) on tv and I knew he was a great player," James said. "Playing behind G made me push myself harder because nobody worked harder than G. That was my way of showing Coach that I wasn't no push-over."

Now,  James is still doing the intangible things, motivating his teammates on and off the court. He has a lot to do with keeping everyone on the same page, which is critical for teammates that are really still getting to know each other.

Tickets for all Sam Houston State University men's basketball home games are available online now at or at the SHSU athletic ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House at Bowers Stadium. The ticket office telephone number is (936) 294-1729.

Texas Farm Bureau members will receive a complimentary general admission ticket to Sam Houston State men's and women's home basketball games simply by showing a membership card or a recent billing statement.  The offer is a special benefit arranged by Texas Farm Bureau for its membership. The offer is only good for one ticket per member. Proof of membership will be requested at the time of ticket pick up. Members can only receive free admission on the day of the event. There will be no pre-pick up the week of the event.