By: Jordan Gold
Ahead of his third season as the point guard for the University of Maryland, the expectations and hype surrounding Anthony Cowan have never been larger.
Cowan enters the 2018-19 campaign as a preseason All-Big Ten selection. He’s coming off of a very strong season individually last year, but an extremely disappointing season as a team. Last season, the junior point guard from Bowie, Maryland, averaged 15.8 points, 5.1 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game and was named All-Big Ten Third Team by the coaches and media and conference’s All-Defensive team.
Although these numbers and accolades are reflective of his individual effort, they do not mean much to Cowan if the team does not enjoy success, which was the case last season. The Terps failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in three years despite Cowan’s efforts and having two players who were selected in the NBA draft in Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson.
Now, the Terps will rely on Cowan to lead the team back to the tournament after reloading the roster with a plethora of talented young players. Coach Mark Turgeon said he is proud of the growth he has seen from his point guard from the end of the last season until now. Turgeon said Cowan is “a totally different player” in terms of the comfort level he has with his teammates and the respect they have for him.
Turgeon added that one of the main things they worked on with Cowan in terms of becoming a better leader was his body language. Turgeon said he is “a totally different kid” versus last year when it comes to this important component of leadership.
With six freshmen, leadership from the point guard spot is especially important. Cowan agreed with his coach’s statements and added that he has grown a lot in terms of knowing how he should lead and speak to different types of teammates. He now realizes that everyone receives and processes criticism and praise differently, something he did not fully understand during his first two seasons with the team.
One teammate that is especially looking forward to playing with Cowan is freshman guard Eric Ayala. The freshman from the well-known IMG Academy is listed as a combo guard, so he is sure to see lots of time in the backcourt playing alongside Cowan.
“We both can play off each other very well. Anthony is a great scorer as well as a great point guard. I can depend on him and he can depend on me,” Ayala said.
Cowan agreed with Ayala’s statement by saying: “[He] gives me a chance to come off the ball. Also he can go off the ball. It’s always fun to be able to play with another point guard like that.”
This season, Cowan’s focus is on bringing the Terps back to the NCAA Tournament. He called last season’s failure to make the tournament super frustrating. He also added that he thinks the culture has truly changed around the program and that everyone seems to be committed to winning.
Cowan said that he thinks his role on the court will be about the same this season. “Coach has always emphasized to me to make the right play. I still believe the ball is gonna be in my hands a lot, now it’s just my job to make the right play,” he said.
Lastly, Cowan really praised the job the freshman have done so far in the preseason.
“We get better every practice, [the freshmen] are like sponges right now, whatever I tell them to do or whatever coach tells them to do, they do. It makes my job a lot easier,” said Cowan.
The Terps open their season on Tuesday, November 6, at home against Delaware. Fans should be expecting to see a lot of Anthony Cowan this season as he led the Big Ten in minutes last season, averaging 37 minutes per game.