I recently had the opportunity to interview the Iowa Mr. Basketball, Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year, and Northern Iowa signee, Bowen Born. Huge shout out to him for doing this.
Q1: You had offers from schools like Bowling Green, Drake, Indiana State, South Dakota, and Toledo. What stood out at UNI that ultimately led you to commit there?
Bowen: UNI was my first offer and didn’t miss a game from offering me to when I was committed.. There were a lot of small things like that, that made me feel like they were the right choice for me.
Q2: What did it mean to you to win a state championship your senior year as well as be named Iowa Mr. Basketball and Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year?
Bowen: It was amazing. I along with my teammates had worked so hard to get back to the championship game after getting second last year, so to finally win a title after coming up short a few times, it was really incredible. The individual awards were super cool as well, they were all things I dreamed of getting as a kid so it felt really good getting some pretty important awards.
Q3: High School or AAU who do you think is the toughest player you’ve ever had to guard as well as toughest player to score on?
Bowen: I’ve played a lot of really good players in AAU. But of the best ones I’ve played against would be Jalen Suggs, DJ Steward, Donovan Williams, and Caleb Murphy.
Q4: So you said Damian Lillard is you favorite NBA player as well as the player you model your game after. What about Dame’s game translates into your style of play?
Bowen: I love the way Damian carries himself. Super humble guy who just goes out and gets stuff done. I like that he is different than a lot of other players. He also comes from a mid major school and was always doubted. He always plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Q5: What would you say is the craziest atmosphere you’ve ever played in and why?
Bowen: We had some pretty amazing games with our rival Oskaloosa. When we played in the state title game my junior year we broke the attendance record at our state tournament with 17,500 people. So I’d probably say that was the craziest environment I’ve ever played in.
Q6: So you went from averaging about 28 PPG in your junior season to 37 PPG in your senior season. How were you able to make such a big jump in the course of a year?
Bowen: I put in a lot of work. I’ve always been a really good scorer and this year that was my role for the team. My teammates always did a great job of getting me open and finding me in my spots. It helps that we played at a fast pace but always staying aggressive and attacking the defense all night really allowed me to score at a really good level.
Q7: So assuming he ends up returning to school, what will it be like playing with fellow Iowa basketball great A.J. Green?
Bowen: It would be really fun. I’ve played with A.J. a few times in open gyms and he’s a great player. I’m looking forward to learning and growing with his help.
Q8: If you couldn’t play basketball what sport would you play and why?
Bowen: I would probably run track. I used to be a really god long distance runner but had to quit in 9th grade because it isn’t exactly the best for putting on weight. I actually have the 8th grade school record for the mile with 4:56 so that would probably be my go to.
Q9: What are you most excited for at UNI
Bowen: Definitely to just become much better as a basketball player. I feel I proved myself to be one of the best HS players in the country and now it’s just on to the next goal.
Q10: What is your message for the haters and the doubters who say stuff like he’s only 5’11” 165 or he’s too small to succeed in the college game?
Bowen: It’s kind of been that way my whole life. People didn’t think I was good enough to get D1 offers but I just continued to work and get better and ended up with 6. Height is definitely an advantage in basketball but it’s taught me to work even harder and keep continuing to get better each day.
Again, huge shout out to Bowen for doing this interview.
Huge message that translates to any aspiring athletes out there. Heart > Height.