With four seniors gone from Sam Houston’s 24-10 men’s basketball team that earned a post-season tournament berth in the CIT, Bearkat fans are looking to the future.
Two of the newcomers for the 2015 SHSU men are high school stars who just completed their pre-college careers with outstanding seasons.
Albert Almanza of Austin Saint Stephens High School and Josh Delaney of Killeen HarkerHeights signed during the November early signing period.
Almanza is a 6-5 wing who averaged 15.2 points, 2.1 steals and 6.1 rebounds this season. He was named “Most Valuable Player” for Saint Stephens.
He ranked ninth in the Central Texas area in scoring, 12th in steals and 16th in rebounding. He was a 46 percent shooter from the field including 44 three-point baskets.
Almanza earned all-tournament honors at the Fuddruckers Corpus Christi Caller Times tournament and the Westlake Classic events. He also a TexasHoops.com academic all-star.
As junior, Almanza averaged 15.9 points and 5.1 rebounds in 2012-13.
“Albert is athletic, really skilled and as a great IQ,” Hooten said. “He can dribble, pass and shot and has great size. His father played basketball at Houston Baptist and his grandfather is in the Texas Longhorn Hall of Fame.”
Delaney is a 6-0 point guard who led HarkerHeights into the playoffs last season.
Delaney averaged 11.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.9 assist and 1.5 steals for HarkerHeights as a senior. He shot 46 percent from the field and 81 percent from the free throw line.
He earned first team all-district and all-region honors and was voted “Most Valuable Player” in district 8-5A. HarkerHeights won the district championship with a 12-2 record and finished the season 29-5, reaching the 5A regional quarterfinals.
“Josh is a tremendous, hard-nosed floor leader,” Hooten said. “He has a lot of speed and is fast with the ball. He is a smart player who shoots well and is a good passer.
“Both these young men are excellent students and the type of student-athletes who will fit into our culture at SamHoustonState. We’re excited to have them in the program for the next four years.”