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Houston Cougars' Caleb Mills: "I just wanted to go where I knew I could get better; and, I felt Houston is where I could maximize my talent."

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UPDATED: August 2, 2019 -- 11:31 a.m. CT

POSTED: August 2, 2019 -- 10:07 a.m. CT

Last November, when the Houston Cougars announced the signing of guard Caleb Mills to a National Letter of Intent, Coogs' Head Coach Kelvin Sampson said of Mills: "You know, I don't like making bold statements. "That stuff is really cookie jar stuff. But, I can safely say Caleb is the best offensive player I've recruited since I've been here of kids coming into the program."

Despite that high praise from Coach Sampson, Caleb said to me: "I've got to be more confident in my game. I'm not unconfident. I just think too much."

Mills, 6'3", graduated from T.C. Roberson High School (North Carolina) in December 2018 and enrolled at University of Houston soon after. Mills did not play for the Coogs in the 2018-'19 season and sat the remainder of last season as a redshirt.

Mills said sitting out last season definitely benefited him.

"Yeah. Yeah. Yeah," Mills said matter-of-fact.

Working with Alan Bishop, Director of Sports Performance UH Strength and Conditioning Coach, has helped Caleb get stronger and bigger without losing his quickness.

"I've gained 10 pounds," Mills said. "So far. And, I didn't lose any speed or quickness. I've still got everything."

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After a recent UH practice, Caleb spoke with me about why he chose UH over other schools (Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida State, Marquette, Tennessee, and Wake Forest); his thoughts on the upcoming trip to Italy; as well as having some fun at the August 5th Red and White Scrimmage.

The HRR: Why did you choose to come to UH?

Caleb: "Because of the family atmosphere. They brought me in; treating my like a brother when I first met them. I felt like it was the best situation for me to come to."

The HRR: Why was it such a good situation for you?

Caleb: "I know Coach (Kelvin) Sampson is a good coach. He's going to push his players. And, I'm going to get smarter under his program."

The HRR: Were they one of the first schools to look at you when you were in high school?

Caleb: "Nah. I got my first offer in 9th grade. It was a mid-major. It was Winthrop. Houston was one of my first high-majors."

The HRR: Was that Coach Kellen who reached out to you first?

Caleb: "I think it was both of them: Coach Kellen and Coach Kelvin reached out to me the same day."

Following Rob Gray and Nate Hinton, Caleb is the third player from the state of North Carolina to sign with Coach Sampson at UH.

The HRR: Are you sensing that UH has developed a pipeline between North Carolina and UH?

Caleb: "Nah. It's a hoops state. North Carolina. A lot of good players. They (UH) don't necessarily seek out people from North Carolina. Just if they see a person they think can fit into their system. They'll holla at them."

The HRR: Did you consider staying in North Carolina for college?

Caleb: "I just wanted to go where I knew I could get better; and, I felt Houston is where I could maximize my talent."

The HRR: When you came on your visit was Fertitta Center being built or done?

Caleb: "It was being built. We came and toured. I don't think they had the seats up, yet. We had to wear construction helmets and glasses and construction outfit."

The HRR: Did the coaching staff have to sell you on the vision of Fertitta Center as a finished product?

Caleb: "Nah. I wasn't worried about that. We could have been playing in the Guy V (Guy V Lewis Development Center). I just want to play for Houston. I wasn't about all this (the bells and whistles).

The HRR: How much are you looking forward to going overseas?

Caleb: "I'm excited to see how good we can be. I know we can be a good team because we're going to defend; rebound; take care of the ball. But, we already have a close relationship with each other. I'm just ready to see how it all turns out."

The HRR: How has the city of Houston been for you?

Caleb: "I don't really go out that much. I'm in the gym getting better shooting and stuff."

The HRR: Are you looking forward to the Red and White scrimmage?

Caleb: "Yeah. Yeah. I know it's going to be fun. I think a lot of people are supposed to be coming. Not a lot. A few. Just get ready to go to Italy."

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