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Former Baylor guard L.J. Rose is transferring to Houston, the Cougars confirmed in a news release Friday.
A Houston native, Rose will seek a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to be eligible for the upcoming season. Rose said his mother, Marilyn, has been stricken with lupus and that the main reason he left Baylor was to be closer to her.
"Family has always been the most important thing to me," Rose told ESPN.com. "With my mother's situation, [Houston] was the obvious choice."
Rose said he also considered San Diego State, Georgetown and Arizona. He's expected to contend for a starting position on a Cougars squad that could contend for an NCAA tournament berth next season.
Houston returns standout forward TaShawn Thomas (16.9 points, 9.8 rebounds) and athletic wing Danuel House (12.4 points as a freshman). The Cougars also will add Danrad "Chicken" Knowles, a 2012 signee who was academically ineligible last season. House was the 19th-ranked player in the ESPN100 Class of 2012; Knowles was No. 51.
The 6-foot-4 Rose was the ninth-ranked point guard in the Class of 2012 (No. 63 overall). He originally turned down offers from Arizona, Memphis and Georgetown in favor of Baylor.
"There is so much potential at Houston," Rose said. "TaShawn Thomas can really play. He was close to getting conference player of the year last season. He and Chicken played [AAU ball] with me. Chicken has a chip on his shoulder. He has something to prove. House is super-athletic. There are a lot of other pieces, lot of things to be excited about, including moving to a new conference."
The Cougars are moving from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference on July 1.
Even though he averaged just 0.9 points and 1.2 assists in his lone season at Baylor, Rose said his experience backing up Big 12 scoring and assists leader Pierre Jackson was invaluable.
"This past year I learned a lot, especially playing against Pierre every day [in practice]," Rose said. "I matured a lot. I feel like I'm ready to be an impact player. I just need an opportunity. Once I get that, it will be up to me to go out there and perform."
Rose and his family are certainly familiar with Houston's program. His father, Lynden, lettered for the Cougars' Phi Slama Jama teams from 1980 to 1982 and was a sixth-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers. He later served on the school's board of regents from 2004 to 2009. Rose's uncle, Cecile, scored more than 1,200 points for Houston from 1974 to 1978.
Rose is spending the summer in Houston training under former NBA coach John Lucas.