Culture / Sporting Life

UH Freshman Terrance Arceneaux Gets Early National Love, NBA Future Talk — But This Four Star Just Wants to Win Big

Schooled by His Older Brother in the Art of Competitiveness

BY // 08.18.22

Terrance Arceneaux will tell you that he learned how to be crazy competitive from his older brother Byron. The 6-foot-6 forward with the seemingly endless arms is major part of the highest-rated freshmen class that Kelvin Sampson has ever brought to the University of Houston. Arceneaux won two state titles at Beaumont United, hit two of the biggest shots a high school player could ever hit.

But Byron Arceneaux, four years older and at one time seemingly a world better at basketball than Terrance, made winning the only option long before that.

“I’m very competitive since I was young,” Terrance Arceneaux tells PaperCity. “I take everything as a competition. And just playing with my big brother, he gave me that mindset. And my parents.

“And I’m a winner. That’s what I like to do. I did that in high school and I’m trying to continue that in college.”

By joining a Houston team that followed up a 2021 Final Four berth with an Elite Eight run last season, and adding a major talent to it, Arceneaux has seemingly given himself every chance to do that. The Cougars are locks to be ranked in Top 10 in all the preseason polls and easily could be in the Top 3. While fellow freshman Jarace Walker, a McDonald’s All-American, figures to be the newcomer who gets the most hype, there are already national commentators who are singling out Arceneaux.

“He is Houston’s best pro prospect,” CBS Sports writer/podcaster Matt Norlander said on the Eye on College Basketball podcast this week. “. . . He is a very fun prospect, He is the kind of player that has that vintage Houston toughness, but he will have a kind of sizzle to his game that I don’t think Houston’s actually had since Sampson has been there.

“(Marcus) Sasser will still be the best player. But I could see Arceneaux growing into a top three go-to guy on offense specifically. . . It will be Arceneaux who could very well grow into the best freshman sixth man in the country. Eventually, he won’t be a sixth man. I anticipate he will grow into a starting level player by the time we get to March.”

While it is a little hard to imagine Arceneaux being a regular starter on this season’s UH team with Sasser, Tramon Mark and Jamal Shead seemingly locked into three of the five spots and Walker, Reggie Chaney and J’Wan Roberts in the power forward and center starting mix, you never know what can happen over the course of a long season.

Of course, Terrance Arceneaux would never push or campaign for a starting spot. That’s not what winners do. He never brings up starting or anything about his potential place in the rotation once during our sitdown conversation.

“I just want to get better and do whatever it takes to help the team,” Arceneaux says. “Just get better as a player and a man. Help my team win the national championship this year. Because we very, very close.

“And that’s all my expectations really.”

Terrance Arceneaux UH
UH freshman Terrance Arceneaux only knew winning in high school. And hitting the most important shots in the biggest moments.

Arceneaux peppers his answers with “Yes sirs” and “No sirs.” He’s one of the more polite teenagers you’ll ever meet. And it’s not just show or best behavior for someone he knows is a reporter. He is the same way with the servers at the clubhouse we’re in, the way same with the UH fans who come up to him.

This comes from his parents Lataisha and Eric Arceneaux, who work at FedEx and a Beaumont plant respectively. Terrance Arceneaux was raised to be humble and appreciative.

Yes, Arceneaux comes to UH as a four star recruit, rated one of the Top 70 players in America. But he is quick to offer all the different things he needs to improve on.

“I’m definitely trying to get better at going left with my ball handling and different things like that,” Arceneaux tells PaperCity. “And staying consistent with my shot. Just staying consistent with my shot. Just getting better, faster and stronger.”

Terrance Arceneaux, Big Shot Maker

Terrance Arceneaux credits his older brother Byron Arceneaux, who played junior college ball at Lamar State College – Port Arthur, with getting his outside shot to the point where it’s a weapon for him.

“He was pretty good in high school,” Terrance says. “He was a good, good shooter. I learned how to shoot from him.”

That brother-built shot’s already paid off in some serious hardware. Terrance Arceneaux hit two 3-pointer buzzer beaters in the 2021 Texas Class 5A state championship game to win his team the title. One at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime and then one at the overtime buzzer with his team trailing by two to win it. Arceneaux also had nine blocked shots in that state title game — and that knack for rejections may be the most underrated aspect of his game. His uncommon length can present opponents with more headaches than a Britney Spears divorce leaves.

“Terrance had such an awesome high school career,” UH assistant coach Kellen Sampson tells PaperCity. “He’s always been all about winning.”

“Just get better as a player and a man. Help my team win the national championship this year. Because we very, very close.” — Terrance Arceneaux on his Houston expectations

Now, Arceneaux is looking to add a college national championship ring to his collection of winning jewelry.

The first step involved getting through Houston’s demanding summer conditioning program. And getting used to life playing for the exacting Kelvin Sampson, who always wants more. More effort. More heart. More selflessness.

“Yes sir — he’s different,” Arceneaux says of Sampson. “If you see him in practice or anything, he’s different. He’s a great coach. I’ve learned so much already. He pushes you as well. He’s a different coach.

“He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had and it’s only been (a little while).”

Another early bond for Arceneaux? Junior point guard Jamal Shead, who might be pushing the freshman even harder than Sampson at this point.

“He’s like a big brother to me,” Arceneaux says of Shead. “He taught me the way. He made it easier for me when I first got here. He pushes me every day. Even on the little things, he pushes me to do better. And do great.

“He sees something in me and just wants me to be great.”

There are a lot of people who seem to be expecting great things from Terrance Arceneaux. The man himself? He just expects to win.

 

Check out more of PaperCity’s offseason coverage of University of Houston Basketball:

Jamal Shead ‘Adopts’ Jarace Walker, Other UH Freshmen

 

UH Super Frosh Jarace Walker Inspired to Be a Jayson Tatum, LeBron James Type Two-Way Player

 

Kelvin Sampson’s New X-Factor — Texas Tech transfer Mylik Wilson
Gives UH a New Smooth, Athletic Marvel

 

Kelvin Sampson’s Houston Program is Just Getting Started — College Basketball’s Best “New” Brand Has Growing Power

For more of Chris Baldwin’s extensive, detailed and unique insider coverage of UH sports — stories you cannot read anywhere else — bookmark this page. Follow Baldwin on Twitter here.

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