UNC Asheville freshman Andrew Rowsey (15) has made 79 3-pointers this season, just 13 shy of the school record for treys in a season set by Josh Kohn in the 1993-94 season. / John Coutlakis / firstname.lastname@example.org
A ROWSEY-ING SUCCESS
UNC Asheville freshman point guard Andrew Rowsey has been on quite a roll over his past seven games:
|Totals||25.6 ppg||30-53 (.566)|
When Nick McDevitt led UNC Asheville’s recruitment of Andrew Rowsey, he saw the 5-10 guard from Lexington, Va., as a complement to a talented returning backcourt that included point guard Trent Meyer and shooting guard Keith Hornsby.
What he didn’t envision was the scenario that unfolded — Hornsby’s transfer to LSU, Meyer missing the season with an ankle injury and the Bulldogs not missing a beat as a contender for another Big South Conference championship.
That’s in large part because of Rowsey stepping in and having what is likely the most significant season by a freshman in the school’s history.
Equal parts 3-point sharpshooter and relentless attacker to the basket, Rowsey is leading the Bulldogs (13-11, 7-3) in scoring and has been on a tear over his last seven games in which he is averaging 25.6 points per game.
Overall, he is averaging 18.9 points per game and has made 79 3-pointers. With six regular-season games and at least one BSC tournament game remaining, the 19-year-old is on pace to break Josh Kohn’s Asheville record for 3-pointers in a season (92 in the 1993-94 season).
“Andrew has a special quality about him, an innate ability to put the ball in the basket, that separates him from a lot of other guards,” said first-year Bulldogs coach McDevitt, who, as an Asheville assistant, recruited Rowsey.
“He’s a great shooter, and he finds ways to score layups against athletes in traffic, and that’s rare.”
Rowsey doesn’t play like a freshman, especially in terms of confidence.
He shoots contested 3-pointers, will rise and shine from 20 feet even on a 3-on-1 fast break and handles overplays by driving aggressively to the basket to score with either hand.
“He’s not shy, hasn’t been from day one,” Asheville senior forward Jaron Lane said. “He’s a good offensive player, and he knows it.”
“Confidence is really key for me, and I think you have to play that way at my size,” said Rowsey, who ranks sixth in the country in scoring by freshmen.
“If I go 0-for-10, I’m going to keep shooting, sure that the next one will go in.”
And what McDevitt likes is his top scorer is not a gunner, shooting an efficient 42 percent from the floor (41 percent from the 3-point line).
“Some people have to get a lot of shots to get going, but he doesn’t have to be a volume shooter to score a lot of points,” McDevitt said.
Rowsey was a prolific scorer in high school, averaging 35 ppg as a senior, the Virginia player of the year who finished as the state’s No. 2 career leader in points.
He thinks his size prevented him from getting offers from larger Division I schools.
“I play with a chip on my shoulder because of my size,” said Rowsey, who says the 5-10 measurement is legitimate. “My attitude every game is to prove I can play.”
He thought he would come in and contribute his first year, playing behind Meyer and Hornsby, but he didn’t expect to be third in the conference in minutes played (35.7 per game).
“That’s not typical for a freshman, but he’s stepped right in from day one to take over the leadership role as a point guard and scorer, and that’s been both exciting and something we had to have out of him,” McDevitt said.
“He has far exceeded what most freshmen are capable of doing.”
Rowsey also doesn’t shy away from aiming high.
“I want to help my team win, and I want to be the (conference) player of the year,” he said of this season’s goal. “There are points in the game where you have take over and score, and if that’s what it takes for us to win, then I’m going to do that.”