Ladies and gentlemen, Bryce McGowens is officially the leader for the 2022 ‘Desmond Bane/Cam Thomas Award’ for prospects who get buckets in college and still go in the late-20s for no good reason. A 6-foot-7 freshman with a natural feel for the game, McGowens is an electrifying dunker and eccentric finisher with a range of moves to get inside.
Raw shooting splits won’t show it, but McGowens displayed some eye-popping shooting upside supported by an exceptional free throw percentage on a high number of attempts. Shooting off the dribble isn’t a clear specialty as he’s more comfortable launching jumpers from a set position. The caveat to that is McGowens took and hit some difficult mid-range shots within 10-to-12 feet from the basket—largely post fadeaways or turnarounds off a planted pivot foot.
Not only does McGowens initiate contact, but he seeks it when driving to the basket with momentum. He’s not going to jump out of the gym or speed up the court, but his pacing and long strides make him an effective slasher nonetheless. That timing also applies to his putbacks, of which there are many. McGowens is an active rebounder who’s unafraid to compete with taller or stronger players when hunting boards.
Defensively, McGowens is far from perfect. He’s not a great on-ball defender because he oftentimes gets beat in the pick-and-roll. While size plays to his advantage, he’s not quick laterally and often reverts to bad tendencies like swiping at the ball from behind. The effort level wavers on that side of the game, but when cultivated with a model organization like Miami, McGowens would have no choice but to compete.