July 29, 2010

Cowels Has High Hopes for Sophomore Season

Story Written by Student Assistant Carolyn Linck '11

Last season the Broncos were led by a strong freshmen class, including forward Raymond Cowels, forward Niyi Harrison and WCC All-Freshmen Team point guard Robert Smith.  This trio looks to build on their individual successes and include Chris Cunningham and Kevin Foster to round out the current sophomore class.

The trio of Cowels, Harrison and Smith finished in the top 10 of Santa Clara's freshmen records for points (Smith, 3rd), rebounds (Harrison, 6th), three-pointers made (Cowels, 5th; Smith, 8th), assists (Smith, 2nd), steals (Smith, 5th; Cowels, 10th) blocks (Harrison, 5th) and minutes played (Smith, 1st; Cowels, 9th). 

Cowels, who was extremely motivated to improve after last season's disappointing ending, believes that with a year of experience under his belt and hard work this off-season he and his fellow sophomores will be ready to re-establish a winning tradition at Santa Clara in their second year of Bronco basketball.

"It was tough last season, coming from high school, not knowing what to expect and us not winning as much as I thought we would. I was spoiled in a way," said Cowels, who lost only six games in his entire high school career at Hopkins High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. "I already know this year will be different. With the new players coming in, a senior class with experience and the lessons we learned from last year, I think we can take huge steps forward."

The entire team is working hard to ensure that happens, and Cowels hopes that the team's 2010-11 record will reflect its dedication this off-season.

"The whole team is very motivated right now.  Last season we were so close but so far away. We don't want any 'almost this' and 'so close that' next year. We just want to win and have no excuses," said Cowels, who has been in Santa Clara all summer working out with the strength and conditioning coach Joe Siara, his teammates and playing pick up with players from Stanford.

"We know it's not going to be easy now, and we'll be ready when the season comes.  We're a young team but we're talented. Hopefully this year we can put it all together," said Cowels.

As sophomores Cowels and his teammates Harrison and Smith are taking on a larger leadership role, particularly by helping the freshmen get acclimated to SCU. 

"It's the new era," said Smith, who roomed with freshman Yannick Atanga for part of the summer. "We're trying to show the new guys how things are here, help them get settled."

"We want the freshmen to know what to expect, to know that this is different from high school and to be ready when the season comes," said Cowels.  "I remember how tough that adjustment was at times, and I just want to help them out as much as I can on and off the court."

By being a good teammate and putting time in the weight room and open gym this summer, Cowels hopes to have a great sophomore season from both an individual and team perspective.  Opening the season on November 12 in the Leavey Center against CSU Bakersfield, Cowels and the Broncos will be ready to win.

"I had this swagger in high school that I'm getting back.  The feeling that every time we're on the court our team is going to win," Cowels.