The Houston Cougars men's basketball team owns a perfect 4-0 record and a No. 6 national ranking, its highest since the "Phi Slama Jama" squad finished the 1983-84 season at No. 5.
It hasn't all been smooth sailing for head coach Kelvin Sampson, however. The team went on pause and scrapped multiple games earlier this month because of COVID-19 issues.
We now know the severity of the outbreak within the team.
Per Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports, Sampson told reporters on Thursday that "all 15 players" and also some coaches associated with the Cougars tested positive for the coronavirus. He expects to have only eight or nine players available for this Sunday's game versus the Alcorn State Braves, Houston's first since a victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Dec. 5.
“The last time that I saw these kids in a game was Nov. 29,” Sampson explained. “This is unprecedented, man."
Sampson and assistant coach Kellen Sampson, Kelvin's son, missed the South Carolina clash because of coronavirus-related concerns.
Sampson added that the student-athletes aren't fully physically fit to play in a grueling basketball game against a competitive opponent because they've been stuck in isolation. Following this weekend, Houston faces the Temple Owls on Tuesday, the UCF Knights on Dec. 26 and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Dec. 29.