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Maine’s Justin Rowe

March 7, 2003 Columns No Comments



America East Profile: Maine’s Justin Rowe

by Phil Kasiecki

In a conference where few seven-footers ever reside, Justin Rowe stands out just from his height. His listing of 235 pounds might seem a bit generous, but there’s no doubting his post presence. He knows a thing or two about using his height.

He made a grand entrance into America East last season with the Maine Black Bears, leading the conference in blocked shots by far with 121, which also set a new school record. He established the school’s single-game record for blocked shots with 9 against Stony Brook early in conference play, and recorded at least one block in every game but the regular season finale. He also scored 12.6 points and hauled down 8 rebounds per game en route to first team All-America East honors.

This season, Rowe has continued to do the same. He finished the regular season second in the conference in blocks with 4.1 per game, good for third in the nation, and became the school’s all-time leader in that category. His blocks have tended to come in bunches as well, as he has recorded 8 or more blocks in four games this season.

Rowe has made strides in an important area for a big man: the foul line. Last season, he struggled mightily at the line in making just over 49% of his free throws. This season, he has not been to the line as much, partly from missing the first five games of the season due to a secondary violation of NCAA rules, but he has made nearly 59% of his free throws. He has stepped it up during the months of conference games, as he made nearly 64% of his free throws against America East opponents.

Earlier this season, Rowe had a good showing in the Dr. Pepper Classic in Chattanooga, as he was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 14.5 points and 12 rebounds per game in Maine’s two games. He had five blocks in each game as well.

The native of Springfield, Massachusetts has always had a knack for sending back shots. In one game at Pioneer Valley Christian School, he blocked 23 shots. As a senior, his team won the title in the tough New England Prep School Athletic Conference, and he was selected all-conference.

Prior to attending Maine, he attended Clearwater Christian College in Florida. In his second year, he was selected as a second team all-conference player and was the Most Improved Player.

One of four double-digit scorers on the Black Bears, Rowe is not the team’s go-to guy, showing the offensive prowess of the team. Senior forward Rickey White, who led the conference in field goal percentage by a wide margin and is sixth in the nation in that category, leads the team in scoring. Freshman Kevin Reed, the conference’s top three-point shooter, is right behind him, and another senior, forward Clayton Brown, is third. The Black Bears have a fine point guard in junior college transfer Eric Dobson, who quietly led the conference in assists. Sophomore Joe Campbell, an America East All-Rookie selection last season, gives them a good shooter off the bench. Boston College transfer Ludmil Hadjisotirov has helped since becoming eligible at mid-season, and team captain Derrick Jackson is a senior who has been through the wars.

It’s not surprising that the Black Bears are second in the conference in scoring, and led the conference in field goal percentage by far in the regular season. This team can play offense. But for all of their offensive prowess, they were also second in field goal percentage defense, a stat helped by the more than four blocked shots per game that Rowe had, as well as the numerous other shots he changed. He also helped them rank second in rebounding margin.

Rowe has caught the attention of NBA scouts, as teams are always on the lookout for a big man. Right now, he does not appear to be a likely draft pick, as he needs to get stronger and improve his overall offensive skills, but he will likely have a chance to show what he can do at pre-draft camps. He will surely be on someone’s summer league roster, whether he is drafted or not, unless he opts to immediately play overseas.

Rowe is a communications major, so we could see him on the air when he is done playing. Considering his talents and the desire for big men, we might have to wait a while on that one.

Back to the America East Profile index.

     

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