It would not be much of a stretch to say that Keandre Bowles was the best basketball player in the WPIAL last season.
Woodland Hills’ senior shooting guard led the league in scoring with 28.9 points per game and led the Wolverines to the WPIAL quarterfinals.
As the highest scorer, and one of the best overall players in the area, Bowles was bound to draw a lot of attention from some of the local cllege programs, so it was surprising to some when, on July 14, Bowles announced via Twitter his commitment to Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kansas.
“I just felt that JUCO was the best for me. I mean, I just felt like it was another couple years to develop my game and I wanted to just take a different route,” Bowles said to PSN.
Bowles prides himself from being able to score anywhere on the court and said his ultimate goal is to go to a Division I program and eventually play professionally. Bowles said that he had some interest from a few Division I schools already, but he wanted to take a different route and he saw playing at a junior college as a way to continue his development.
“I want to attend a Division I program, hopefully, I’m blessed to do that. There were a couple (interested), but I had to do a lot more developing so I just went the JUCO route,” Bowles said. “(Barton) hit me up about May, after the season. They told me to come down and visit and I went down and visited and I like it and just committed. I want to go in there and make an impact and definitely work.”
The Barton Cougars play in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference and are coming off of a 25-8 season in which they made it to their region’s semifinals. Bowles said that going to a successful JUCO program made the decision easier and that the number one thing he wants to work on is his defense.
“They really like how I can score the ball different ways, the post, I can get to the rack, I can shoot it, but I really think I can become more of a dog on defense,” Bowles said.
After the senior season Bowles had, it would have been tempting to go to a four-year college where he could play right away, but Bowles said that his success just showed how much better he can continue to get.
“I feel good about my season. I feel like I should have won the championship, but I feel I worked for that, so (the success) doesn’t really surprise me,” Bowles said. “Going to Barton I’m still humble. I know the competition will be different from the WPIAL. I’ve got to get stronger. There will be grown men in this league. I’m just trying to go in, have a huge impact and get up out of there and be the best player I can be.”
Ever since ninth grade, Bowles has enjoyed working hard in order to achieve a goal.
“They had me on JV as a freshman and so I just worked to get on varsity and I got on varsity and I just kept working, I fell in love with it,” Bowles said. “I started playing basketball in about fifth grade, then I really fell in love as I continued in seventh and eighth and went to high school and just loved it and continued working on my game.”
Bowles had a bit of a preview of his situation as a junior when he watched Amante Britt go through the same process. Britt is a year older than Bowles and was Woodland Hills’ star prior to Bowles taking over. Britt ended up at Division-II Slippery Rock University where he started 28 games as a freshman.
Bowles said that he was able to watch Britt’s entire recruiting process from up close, one year before he would go through the same thing himself.
“(Britt) definitely helped me out a lot, school-wise and with my hoop game,” Bowles said. “I saw him go through his recruitment and how the coaches like to play you and other stuff so it helped out a lot.”
Bowles has a very clear goal in mind for his basketball future and is taking the path that he believes will help get him to where he wants to be.