Bowers hit three treys in Tuesday’s rout of Alcorn State, and none of them were accidents. The big senior worked extensively in his redshirt season to improve his shooting, and it appears the long hours in the gym have paid off; something Frank Haith has to be happy to see.
“Coach told me that I needed to knock down the three-ball,” Bowers said after the game. “We lost a sharp shooter in Kim English, and I wouldn’t dare say that I’m the sharp shooter Kim English is, but I’m going to continue to work and when the opportunity’s there, I’m going to shoot it with confidence.”
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Confidence didn’t seem to be an issue for the comeback kid- especially in the second half. At one point he accounted for eight straight points off of two threes and a dunk.
While he hasn’t lost his high-flying reputation (he finished with three blocks and threw a couple jams down for good measure), he has expanded his repertoire enough to make himself a complex problem for opposing defenses.
Coach Frank Haith, who inherited the dynamic post man, has already commented on Bowers’ growth.
“Watching Laurence on tape, obviously I didn't coach him last year, everything was athletic plays,” said Haith. “I think he's got a game where he is doing some other things too in terms of shooting the basketball, handling the ball, making good passes and he was a good passer before, but I think he's gotten better. There is no question he has gotten better.”
Perhaps most exciting is the fact Bowers seems to be getting better every game. He has scored 32 of his 34 points this season in the latter half of games, indicating he is studying in the first half and exploiting in the second- something you might expect from someone who spent a season sitting next to a head coach.
Additionally, his mentality is not that of a guy trying to find his role- it’s one of a leader. In his post game comments, Bowers showed exactly where he sees himself this season when he took the blame for the Tigers’ slow start.
“It was a lack of energy. I take the blame,” he said. “I didn’t have my team ready.” His team. He may not have seen the court last year, but he was there through everything, and he’s ready to lead in his final year. That stability and confidence will be important as the Tigers overpopulated backcourt sorts itself out.
With the big man’s leadership and his desire to continue cultivating a complete game, the best appears to be on the horizon.