The Daily Hampshire Gazette - Bowers to Drexel, 1/4/2006
The Daily Hampshire Gazette
MHERST, Mass. - Junior guard Art Bowers (Wilmington, Del.) has announced he will be transferring out of the University of Massachusetts to pursue other basketball interests.
Bowers had started the first two games of the 2005-06 season with the Minutemen but did not record a point. Last season, Bowers averaged 8.4 points, playing in all 28 games, starting 17 times. As a freshman in 2003-04, Bowers was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team as he scored 8.6 points per game, playing in 27 games, drawing 23 starts.
Bowers played his prep basketball at St. Benedict's High School in New Jersey for coach Danny Hurley. He averaged 18 points and six rebounds as a senior.
PRINGFIELD - Only Artie Bowers knows whether things would have been different if his potential game-tying shot at the buzzer at Davidson had been good Tuesday. But the shot, which was blocked, turned out to be the last play of Bowers' career as a Minuteman.
UMass announced Friday that the 6-foot-4 junior guard had decided to transfer before the Tip-Off Classic where the Minutemen lost 86-77 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
''It was a real difficult decision,'' said Bowers, who had returned home to Delaware for Thanksgiving. ''I thought it would be good for me to transfer. It wasn't looking like I was going to get much time. I thought I could go somewhere else and play a little bit more.''
Bowers told UMass coach Travis Ford Wednesday about his intentions.
Ford said he wasn't surprised.
''I could sense that he wasn't happy with his playing time,'' Ford said. ''Artie has really represented himself well while he was at UMass. We're parting on good terms. ... He just wanted to go somewhere where he could play. There's nothing wrong with that.''
Bowers, a native of Wilmington, Del., said he has not yet started looking at schools, but would like to be closer to home. If he enrolls in the school for the spring semester, Bowers would have to sit out the remainder of this season and the first semester of the 2006-07 season. He would then have 1 1/2 years of eligibility remaining beginning in late December 2006.
Bowers' loss made a thin UMass roster even more vulnerable to injuries or foul trouble. Ford now has just eight scholarship players, including sophomore Lawrence Carrier who averaged just four minutes in the first two games.
''Obviously our numbers are down a little bit, so we're not going to press as much as I'd like,'' Ford said. ''We've got to minimize our weaknesses and play to our strengths. We've just got to get everyone doing that on a consistent basis in order for us to be our best. We've got to watch how many fouls we give. We're down to eight scholarship players. Although we want to be aggressive, we have to be smart as well.''
Bowers' departure opens up a scholarship for Ford to use in recruiting for next year.
Bowers arrived at UMass as a high-profile recruit after being ranked among the nation's top 50 seniors coming out of St. Benedict's in New Jersey.
He was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team after averaging 9.6 points per game as a freshman.
Coming off an erratic sophomore season, Bowers started the first two games of the season this year under Ford, but didn't score in 20 minutes.
With Bowers gone, Ford went to a big lineup Friday with no starter smaller than 6-foot-5. Senior Jeff Viggiano started at small forward and Brandon Thomas moved to shooting guard.
BIGGER ROLE FOR CARRIER - Bowers' departure appears to open playing time for Carrier.
With Bowers gone, Viggiano - who had been playing both inside and on the wing - will likely spend more time on the perimeter. That will give Carrier some of Viggiano's inside minutes.
''Lawrence gave us some energy out there,'' Ford said. ''He still needs to get into better shape, but he was willing to shoot the ball out there.''
Carrier had seven points in nine minutes Friday.
LASME BLOCKS - Junior big man Stephane Lasme continued his impressive shot-blocking. He turned back seven Blazer attempts to give him 20 this season, an average of 6.7 per game. His previous best block total in three games had been 16.
Lasme fouled out Friday for the 10th time in his career.
MISCELLANEOUS - Thomas has scored the first basket in all three games for the Minutemen. ... Rashaun Freeman's double-double (21 points, 11 rebounds) was the 20th of his career. ... UMass is now 38-23 all-time at the MassMutual Center (formerly the Springfield Civic Center).
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more UMass coverage including a frequently updated UMass sports blog, go to www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/umsports.
unior guard Art Bowers announced on Wednesday that he will be leaving the Massachusetts men's basketball team. Bowers plans to transfer from UMass to a school where he will be able to get more playing time than he did in the Minutemen's first two games.
The decision was announced on Friday prior to UMass' game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic in Springfield. Playing with only eight scholarship players on their bench, the Minutemen lost 86-77 to UAB.
The move is somewhat surprising, as Bowers was heralded by new coach Travis Ford as one of the most improved players in the preseason. Bowers earned the starting nod in the first two games of the season, but did not record a point in either the 67-62 season-opening win against Hartford on Nov. 18 or in Tuesday's 66-63 loss to Davidson.
Bowers only played 20 total minutes in the two games, and attempted just two shots.
Bowers came to UMass as a highly-touted recruit, and despite being named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team in 2003-04, he never played at the level that many expected from the Wilmington, Del. native.
UMass will be down to eight scholarship players until sophomore Dante Milligan, who transferred from Pittsburgh last year, becomes eligible for the Dec. 23 game against Sienna.
While the loss of one of the team's veterans will make things tougher for Ford, he said the split was amicable.
"I could sense that he wasn't happy with his playing time, but Artie's really represented himself well while he was at UMass," Ford said. "We're parting on good terms and I wish him the best of luck. He just wanted a chance to go somewhere where he could play the minutes he wants to play, and there's nothing wrong with that."
OWERS HEADED ELSEWHERE - Former University of Massachusetts guard Artie Bowers is not headed to Drexel after all. The guard learned that he had, at most, one more year of eligibility, limiting his appeal to the Dragons.
Bowers will have to sit out the rest of this season and all of next year and will likely play his final collegiate season in 2007-08.
NCAA rules give Bowers the option of becoming eligible in December, but would only have one semester of eligibility left. That scenario seems unlikely because it's hard to believe a school would offer him three semesters of scholarships for one semester of play.
Bowers, who was unavailable for more recent comment, said when he decided to leave in November that he expected to be eligible in the second semester of the 2006-07 season. Bowers played only two games for UMass this year, but in the eyes of the NCAA that counts the same an entire season.
Bowers' situation is different than that of current Minuteman Dante Milligan. After playing five games last season for Pittsburgh, Milligan transferred to UMass. Because he'd already redshirted the 2003-04 season, Milligan's time sitting out in Amherst was using up his eligibility not extending it.
If Milligan hadn't already redshirted at Pitt, he could have sat out the end of the 2004-05 season and all of the 2005-06 season and had three full seasons at UMass.
Because few players transfer at midyear, some coaches aren't aware of the rule.
Bowers could have three semesters of eligibility immediately if he transferred to an NAIA school or a Division II school.
Bowers could petition Ford to take him back for the rest of the year and potentially transfer after that. The Minutemen are down to just three scholarship guards, unless Maurice Maxwell returns. But that possibility is extremely unlikely.
Against Rider, 12/23/2004.
Against Birmingham-Southern, 11/23/2004.
Against Boston University, 12/28/2004.
Maurice Maxwell and Drew Rossi mob Bowers after he hit the game winner against Boston University, 12/28/2004.
|Points||21 vs. Rider, 12/23/04|
|Field Goals||7 vs. Temple, 1/24/04|
7 vs. Rider, 12/23/04
|Field Goals Att.||18 at Temple, 3/3/04|
|3-Point FG||5 vs. Rider, 12/23/04|
|3-Point FG Att.||11 vs. Rider, 12/23/04|
|Free Throws||6 vs. Birmingham-Southern, 11/23/04|
|Free Throw Att.||10 vs. Birmingham-Southern, 11/23/04|
|Rebounds||8 at Duquesne, 1/18/04|
|Assists||9 vs. St. Bonaventure, 2/28/04|
|Blocks||2 vs. Temple, 1/24/04|
|Steals||4 vs. Duquesne, 3/5/05|
4 vs. Boston Univ., 12/28/04
|Minutes||43 vs. LaSalle, 3/9/05|
43 at Temple, 3/3/04