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Houston continues rebuilding project

Houston announced Tuesday that it has signed Pittsburgh transfer J.J. Richardson, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward who was looking to move back home and find more playing time.

Richardson averaged about a point and a rebound in 23 games for the Panthers. He represents a building block that second-year coach James Dickey will try to use more prominently than Pittsburgh did.

"This is exciting for our basketball program and the university," Dickey said in a statement. "To have a player of his size and ability is a great addition to our program. He is a strong, physical and skilled player that will really fill the power forward position on our team. J.J. is a quality student-athlete, and we look forward to his continued development during his redshirt season."

Houston's roster will look different now that Dickey has signed seven new players to a team that went 12-18 last season. There are high school recruits, junior college transfers, and now a Division I transfer in the group. Richardson is Dickey's third spring signee. The Cougars are also getting redshirt freshman guard Joseph Young, who was forced to sit out the year after Providence refused to release him from a letter of intent.

Dickey loses his top three scorers from this past season, but the loss gives the newcomers an opportunity. Rebuilding in Conference USA won't be easy with Dickey entering only his second season, but the Cougars have to start somewhere.

Richardson isn't expected to be their savior, but he's another piece to the puzzle that could pay dividends down the road.