Ex-Tiger Bowers prepares to chase NBA dream in Israel

BY foxsports • July 29, 2013


Laurence Bowers is bound for Israel. The former Mizzou forward
signed a one-year contract with Hapoel Holon, an Israeli professional
basketball team, last week. FOXSportsMidwest.com caught up with Bowers
and talked about the move he will make in late August, and how that
decision might eventually help land him in the NBA.

You had a
shot with the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA summer league. Now we find
out you're going to Israel. Take us through the process.

"The
summer league was a great experience, man. I'm very appreciative of the
opportunities the Grizzlies gave me. However, my agent and I had to
weigh in on all my options. From the performance I had in summer league,
we came to the conclusion it would be best for me to go overseas for
the first year. I'm telling everybody, this is just a steppingstone. My
ultimate goal is to get to the NBA. My path just might be a little
different than others."

Do you know anything about Hapoel Holon?

"I've
done my research. They have had some pretty good players. They just
signed Luther Head, who had been in the NBA for a while. Jerome Dyson.
Frank Hassell. They were all over there, and they've done well. It's a
great ball club, and the fans are passionate. I'm just looking forward
to getting over there."

You're not the first former Mizzou player who has signed with a team overseas. Have you received any advice from that group?

"Yeah.
I talked to Marcus Denmon. I heard great things from Keith Ramsey, who
just got done playing in Israel. He [Ramsey] played in Tel Aviv. I'm
playing right outside of Tel Aviv. He just raved about how people were
so friendly."

What do you need to show in Israel in order to prove you belong in the NBA?

"I
just have to continue to prove my knee is fine. Personally, I believe
me being overlooked is because of my knee injury. I'm just going to go
over there, continue to work hard and prove myself. I've been proving
myself for a long time now. There are different roads to achieving your
goal. My road just took a little curve."

You tore your left ACL and sprained your right MCL in college. You think those issues were the root of the NBA's concern?

"That
was pretty much it. Then you hear, 'He is a tweener.' I can play the
three. I can play the four. Tweener is not a bad thing. I didn't quite
understand that. But I definitely think the eyebrow-raiser was that I
had two knee injuries through college. ... Going from a guy who did
everything jumping. Dunking. Shot blocking. Then you hurt your knee.
Obviously, it messes with your psyche a little bit. But I felt like I
worked through it. I came back and had a great senior season. I'm going
to keep working, keep persevering."

BAD TIMING FOR MACLIN'S INJURY

Former
Mizzou star receiver Jeremy Maclin, in an instant last week, went from
being one of the best weapons in Chip Kelly's Philadelphia offense to a
non-factor. And it happened at the worst possible time.

Maclin
tore his right ACL at training camp, the same injury he bounced back
from at Mizzou. While there's no reason to doubt Maclin's return, there
is an outside factor that makes this a really crummy deal.

Maclin
could have held out. The receiver is entering a contract year with the
team, and might have received a big payday on an extension if he had
avoided camp until the Eagles made an offer. Instead, he took a
different route.

Maclin, by all accounts, was going to go all in
on 2013 in hopes for a bigger, better contract after what he hoped would
be his biggest year yet. That's respectable. And now, looking back,
it's a bit of a bummer.

Even if Maclin does return to form after
rehabbing this season, he will likely make less and receive little
guaranteed money. Teams will want to protect themselves from being on
the hook for a player who has torn the same ACL twice.

DIXON'S WAIVER SUBMITTED

Michael Dixon's plan to switch from Missouri to Memphis Tiger has reached a pivotal point: the NCAA.

Memphis
applied Wednesday for a hardship waiver that would allow the former
Mizzou guard to play this season, according to a report from the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Transfers
are usually required to sit out a season at their new school. Dixon,
however, seeks an exception since he never played for Mizzou last year.
He was suspended when the season started, a punishment tied to a charge
of sexual assault. After a second, separate charge of sexual assault
became public knowledge, Dixon withdrew from the school and said he
would transfer. The accusations against him never turned into criminal
charges.

Dixon should get the waiver. The NCAA recently set
somewhat of a precedent when it allowed Dez Wells to play immediately at
Maryland following his dismissal from Xavier, a departure that stemmed
from a sexual assault allegation that never resulted in a criminal
charge.

It's certainly understandable to question this
occurrence. But how would the NCAA not give Dixon a pass when it already
gave one to Wells?

TWEET OF THE WEEK


COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEATING UP

I'll
be on hand for Mizzou's first day of fall camp Thursday in Columbia,
Mo. If you have questions for players or coaches about the upcoming
season, shoot me an email or tweet and let me know.

Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or email him at frederickson.ben@gmail.com.


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