By Steve Williams
It was great to see homegrown Jordan Bowden make his first start as a Tennessee Volunteer and respond with a good shooting night on top of that last week against Appalachian State at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The former Carter High star made a 3-point shot before the game was 10 seconds old and went on to hit four of eight treys as he scored 14 points in his 22 minutes of play in a 103-94 win over the Mountaineers.
Bowden wasn’t playing above the rim as he often did for the Hornets in high school. Instead he was playing on the wing and moved smoothly as he worked for open shots.
Coach Rick Barnes said after the game he started Bowden for offensive reasons. That’s a good sign for Bowden early in his collegiate career. It means he has caught his coach’s eye in practice.
Jordan also was a guest on the Vol Network’s post-game show and sounded good as he spoke with Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp.
“I always dreamed about coming to Tennessee,” Bowden answered on the air. “But in my senior year in high school I really didn’t know if I would end up here. Then I went the prep school route and got the offer and I took it.
“In prep school you go out against the best of the best every night. You’ve just got to be ready and there are a lot of scouts at every game, so I had a lot of exposure.”
Kesling asked Jordan what he felt his strength was at this point in his career and what he felt he needed to work on the most.
“I’m trying to get better at on-ball defense and trying to stay in front of the better players,” replied Bowden. “The thing I think I’m good at is shooting the ball with the open shot and bringing energy to the team.
“We’ve got to be consistent defensively, get consecutive stops and don’t relax on defense.”
As cold weather finally arrived here locally, Jordan is in paradise this week for games in the Maui Invitational. The Vols, in fact, play Wisconsin in a game that will be televised this afternoon.
When Bob asked if this would be his first trip to Hawaii, Jordan laughed and you could hear the excitement in his voice as he answered “yes.”
Bowden not only was a great and exciting player in high school, he was a good student and outstanding young man. I expect him to represent Tennessee well on and off the court in his college career and make Knoxville and Carter High proud.
SMOKIES AND CUBS: Doug Kirchhofer, Chief Executive Officer of the Tennessee Smokies and senior member of the club’s management team, recently talked about his feelings in watching the Chicago Cubs, the Smokies’ parent club, win their first World Series in 108 years.
“It really makes an exciting, historical sports event more personal because of ‘knowing’ so many of the players,” texted Doug. “Unforgettable for all of us with the Smokies. It is extremely gratifying to be even a small part of a successful team effort.”
Thirteen players on the Cubs’ World Series roster were former Tennessee Smokies.
The Smokies’ staff hosted two open houses at the stadium for local baseball fans during the early part of the Series, which allowed fans to feel a little closer to the action even though miles and miles away.
None of the Smokies’ staff attended Game 7 in Cleveland, said Doug, but “we had people at all the games in Chicago.”
TURKEY AND PIGSKINS: Thanksgiving Day wouldn’t feel right for me if the Detroit Lions weren’t playing on TV in an early afternoon start. And they’ll be hosting the Minnesota Vikings Thursday at 12:30 to kick off a tripleheader of NFL action.
Game 2 will pit an old classic with the Redskins going against the Cowboys in Dallas at 4:30.
The nightcap at 8:30 will have Big Ben and the Steelers going against Andrew Luck and the Colts in Indy.
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!