COLLEGE PARK – Down by 18 with less than four minutes to go against the University of Michigan on Feb. 24, Maryland point guard Anthony Cowan, Jr. launched a midcourt alley-oop pass, finding an elevated Michal Cekovsky, for the two-handed slam. While the dunk was not enough to stop an impending Wolverine victory, it was […]
COLLEGE PARK – Down by 18 with less than four minutes to go against the University of Michigan on Feb. 24, Maryland point guard Anthony Cowan, Jr. launched a midcourt alley-oop pass, finding an elevated Michal Cekovsky, for the two-handed slam.
While the dunk was not enough to stop an impending Wolverine victory, it was validation for Cowan. After being given the reigns of the point guard position by Head Coach Mark Turgeon following his freshman season, the Bowie native made improvements to his skill set to serve Maryland’s offense better.
“(Turgeon) knew I was a shooting point guard and defenses started to notice that,” Cowan said. “I had to make sure I started distributing the ball the best I could, and that would give us the best chance to win. He made sure to tell me that at the beginning of the year.”
In a year of transition, the six-foot Bowie native embraced his new role as the team’s leading point guard, earning high praise from fans and outside observers. After a season of disappointment by missing out onboth NCAA and NIT Tournaments, Cowan will need to continue to grown in his leadership role going into his junior year to bring Maryland’s program back to prominence.
Coming into the 2017-18 season, expectations were high for the former St. John’s College High School star. The departure of junior Melo Trimble to the NBA left a high offensive void in Maryland’s starting lineup. Following a discussion with Turgeon and the coaching staff in the summer, Cowan, who averaged 29 minutes a game his freshman season, improved on several aspects of his game to be more of a complimentary piece for his teammates.
“Trying to speak up more and making sure that my teammates heard my voice as much as possible was the biggest thing,” Cowan said.
To combat the growing size of college basketball defenders, Cowan uses his speed, matched together with impressive ball-handling skills, to create enough separation for a quick jumper or a drive through an open lane for a layup. The addition of freshman center Bruno Fernando and his partnership with sophomore Kevin Huerter made making assists easier for Cowan.
Cowan quickly made an impact three games into the season, becoming the first Terp since Greivis Vásquez in 2009 to convert at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a game in Maryland’s 79-65 win over Butler. He finished the season posting two double-doubles and scored a career-high 27 points in a 92-91 overtime victory against Illinois on Dec. 3.
His performances received conference recognition at the end of the season as he was named to the Third Team All-Big Ten for leading Maryland in scoring (15.7 points per game) and assists (5.2). The sophomore also finished second in the nation in total minutes played with 1,146. Having Cowan on the floor was the best way for Maryland to succeed, Turgeon said.
“Anthony had a great year,” Turgeon said. “His assists are up, turnovers are down, shooting the ball better and he is just a complete player. He’s really challenged himself defensively, and he has a lot on his plate. He needs to play well every game for us to have a chance and I am glad he got awarded (with Big Ten honors).”
Off-the-court, Cowan has found the perfect balance of becoming a team leader while still making time for his family. Freshman Darryl Morsell said the sophomore is already viewed a team leader and was one of the main voices during a team meeting before the Big Ten Tournament.
Days before leaving for New York City, Cowan cheered on his younger sister, Alex, who was a part of St. John’s title victory in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Tournament on Feb. 26.
“Family was the biggest part (in choosing Maryland),” Cowan said. “I’ve played in front of my family everywhere I have gone.”
With plans to stay in College Park, Cowan wants to continue weaving his name in Maryland history while eliminating the disappointment of the 2017-18 season. Setting the standards high for next season while living out the meaning of the word “ambitious” tattooed on his chest, Cowan said he hopes to become a Terp that fans speak fondly about for years to come.
“I want to be remembered and would like to have a plaque or my name in the rafters,” Cowan said. “I just want to be remembered as someone who wins (for Maryland).”