A junior college transfer who arrived on the AU campus this past summer, Bowers has been an immediate impact player. He is leading the SEC in rebounds with 11.3 per game and is third on the team in scoring with 13.7 points per outing behind K.T. Harrell’s (17.0) and Antoine Mason’s (14.6).
On Saturday vs. Missouri the junior led the Tigers in scoring with 20 points and in rebounds with 14 as Auburn improved its record to 9-6 overall and 1-1 in the SEC with an 85-79 victory.
“Cim’s a funny guy,” says senior point guard K.C. Ross-Miller, who is also a newcomer to the Auburn team. “He’s emotional and not in a bad way. He is just an energetic guy and he has fun when he is out there playing. He is just someone who will bring the energy also from the five (center) or four (power forward) spot.”
Bowers showed his emotions in Auburn’s comeback victory over Mizzou and got particularly excited when the Tigers rallied for the victory after he was the victim of a flagrant foul on a breakaway run to the basket.
Ross-Miller notes that Bowers can get his teammates and the crowd excited with his celebrations, which included a muscle flex vs. Missouri after scoring a basket and being fouled.
“We know how Cim is so we kind of let him do his thing kind of like ’Toine (Antoine Mason),” Ross-Miller points out. “Everyone has their moments, but it’s definitely something big when he gets a steal late in the game or gets an and-one when we really need it. It provides a lot of energy.”
Pearl says he keeps an eye on Bowers and the other Tigers to make sure they don’t go too far with their celebrations. “Not everything the players do are things that I would do or I would necessarily agree with, but I want my players to play with emotion and I do want them to have fun, and, I want them to play with some freedom.
“I want them to have sportsmanship and I want them to be the best example they could possibly be, but I don’t want them to be robots,” Pearl adds.
“As long as the actions are fairly positive, not taunting, then I’m okay with it. When a player crosses the line, and they will sometimes, we’ll address it and try to reel them back in, but there is nothing so far that I see that isn’t just good old fashion hustle and emotion.”
Bowers, who has dropped weight and improved his conditioning since arriving on campus last summer, notes he is focused on improvement. "I am working to get better in everything I do--rebounding, shooting and defense," he says. "I am trying to become more consistent so I can help us win games."
Pearl’s team returns to action on Thursday at 6 p.m. CST in Gainesville vs. the Florida Gators. The Tigers will need another strong effort from Bowers to have a chance vs. a team that has not lost an SEC regular season game since the 2012-13 season.
“I think he has a physicality to him, and an effort to him where he can inspire you,” Pearl says of Bowers, who weighs in at 267 pounds. “When he (drew) the flagrant one (foul vs. Missouri), I think it inspired us, picked us up defensively. One of the things that our team has to understand and learn is what we do is not very good unless you play that way all the time.
“We don’t play that way all the time,” Pearl adds. “When we do, we turned it up a notch. Why don’t we start the games turned up? What don’t we start the halftime turned up? That’s my job to try and get us to get there.”