The Houston Cougars add Tramon Mark, Jamal Shead and Kiyron Powell on National Signing Day.

Houston Cougars welcome new players on signing day

The Houston Cougars just kicked off their 2019-20 college basketball season, but that does not mean head coach Kelvin Sampson is not preparing for the future. On Wednesday, the Cougars announced the signings of Tramon Mark, Jamal Shead and Kiyron Powell, three high school recruits who will be attending the University of Houston during the fall of 2020.

Tramon Mark, a 6'4 combo guard from Dickinson, TX, comes to Houston as the Cougars' top recruit. He is currently ranked 67th in the national (third in the state of Texas), according to 24/7 Mark averaged 26.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists during his junior year, as he was named to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 6A All-State Team honors last season.

Mark will be attending Houston alongside another Texas native, Jamal Shead. As a junior guard at Manor High School in Manor, TX, Shead led his school to the 2019 state tournament averaging 18.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Shead comes to Houston ranked as the sixth-best player in the state and the 20th best point guard in the nation.

While Houston added one of the most exciting backcourts in the country, Sampson and his staff did not forget about adding some much-needed depth to their front court.

Next fall, the Cougars will welcome Kiyron Powell to their program, a 6'10 forward from Indiana. According to 24/7, Powell is held as one of the top rim protectors in the nation, averaging 6.8 blocks per game. Ranked as the sixth-best player in the state of Indiana and the 21st big man in the county, Powell became an all-star during his junior season averaging 10.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.

After signing one four-star recruit (Mark) and two three-star (Shead & Powell), the Houston Cougars will have one of the nation's Top-20 recruiting classes of 2020.

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Megan Thee Stallion threw out the first pitch. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Seems like only yesterday that our Houston Astros were partying downtown at their 2022 World Series Championship parade. But in a blink, the team returned to Minute Maid Park to kick off Opening Day of the 2023 season on Thursday, March 30 against the Chicago White Sox.

CultureMap was there as our world champions were joined by superstars Mark Wahlberg and Cody Johnson and hometown favorites Megan Thee Stallion and Travis Scott (Hot Girl Megan threw out the first pitch). Wahlberg, a close friend of third base hero Alex Bregman, called Breggy his "favorite Yankee Killer" and wished the new dad and champion a very happy happy birthday (he turned 29 the same day).

Astros owner Jim Crane and wife Whitney literally rode in with the World Championship trophies and joined manager Dusty Baker, Jr. who asked the eager crowd: “Are you ready for another one?” — to an enthusiastic roar. After a big reveal of the new season slogan “Ready 2 Reign” and appearances by Wahlberg, the Cranes, a ceremonial first pitch by Megan, it was game on.

Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez threw five innings, giving up no runs in only 85 pitches and four strikeouts. The game stayed scoreless until the 7th inning, when Yordan Alvarez scored from third base on a wild pitch. White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease threw seven innings and recorded 10 strikeouts, whole tight defense from the 'Stros kept the game scoreless through seven innings — until White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal hit a solo home run in the eighth.

The Astros gave up two more runs in the top of the ninth, then came a mammoth, 442-foot upper-deck home run in the bottom of the inning by star slugger Yordan Alvarez. His blast wasn't enough, however, as the Sox bested the Houston Astros 3-2. Historically, the Astros have won 10 straight Opening Day games.

Broadcast on ESPN, the game was speedy thanks in part to the new pitch clock, starting at 6:08 pm and ending just before 9 pm. Fans can catch the team again at 7:10 pm Friday, March 31 against the Sox as the Astros will receive their World Series rings. The four-game home stand against the Sox runs through Sunday, April 2.

--- Additional reporting by Marco Torres/Marco From Houston

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