Maryland men's basketball season recap: Adrian Bowie
This week, Terrapins Insider will take a look back on the 2009-10 Maryland men’s basketball season from an individual standpoint. We’ll discuss how each player’s year went and look ahead to his role on the team going forward. Readers are encouraged to provide their thoughts in the comments section below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Junior guard Adrian Bowie spent most of this season trying to find a balance between the strengths he already possesses and the ones he envisions himself possessing in the future.
We knew heading into the season that Bowie could drive to the basket fearlessly and that those drives were highly valuable in terms of opening up shots for his teammates out on the perimeter. We also knew that Bowie could defend capably – and sometimes exceptionally – against an opposing team’s top offensive perimeter threat.
What we didn’t know about Bowie heading into the season was whether all the time and effort he put into improving his jump shot – and specifically, his three-point shot – would translate into making him a more effective offensive component.
The early results were less than encouraging. Bowie fell in love with his jumper and got away from those penetrating drives. And that would have been okay, except that his jumper was not falling with much regularity. As Bowie continued to miss, his confidence continued to slide. His focus and his playing time followed suit.
At several points during the season, Maryland Coach Gary Williams made reference to the delicate nature of the confidence of players such as Bowie and fellow junior guard Cliff Tucker. After a win at Boston College on Jan. 16 during which Bowie and Tucker had performed well, Williams noted that their confidence level was high at that point and he hoped that it would remain that way the following day.
As the season progressed, Bowie slowly but surely worked his way out of his slump, and coming to grips with his role on the team undoubtedly played a role in that development. He acknowledged several times in January that he needed to get back to doing what he knew he could do well. But that wasn’t completely the case.
Bowie didn’t need to be one or the other – a driver or a shooter. He needed to do both. He needed to find a medium between the two extremes, and that came down to in-game decision-making.
Next season, Bowie would appear to be the incumbent favorite to serve as the squad’s starting point guard, and so his decision-making ability will be important in determining how far that team can go. Does Bowie have the ability to be a capable point guard? Certainly. But if he is to be the starting point guard, Maryland will not be able to afford the inconsistency with which he played for most of this season.
Bowie turned in several encouraging performances down the stretch this year. He found a rhythm within the offense, taking jump shots when he received good looks, driving to the basket when the opportunity presented itself and dishing to a teammate when the situation necessitated such an action.
Bowie ended up hitting several critical shots for the Terrapins during the last month of the season, so abandoning his perimeter game would be a mistake. But so would becoming completely reliant upon it for production.
As his offensive game steadied, his defense improved. You could argue it was the other way around. That part is open for debate.
What’s not open for debate is that Maryland will need Bowie to take a marked step forward in his development prior to the beginning of next season. He, Tucker and Dino Gregory will be filling the shoes of this season’s accomplished three-man senior class.
No one is expecting them to be Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne, but at least one of them will need to step forward and fill part of the leadership gap the departure of those three players creates.
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