``When he moved here, he was a big old fat boy," Meridian coach Ernie Watson said. "But last year he lost a lot of weight and he's going to be really good down the road."
``The reason I like LSU and Mississippi State is because location is a big thing to me," McGowan said. "I'd like to stay close to my family."
McGowan's defense is still well ahead of his offense, but both McGowan and Watson realize that he'll need to work on his low-post moves before he can make an impact in the SEC – or any major college conference.
``He runs the floor well and is extremely aggressive," Watson added. "He works hard and has a pretty good jump shot."
McGowan, who has a 3.5 GPA, averaged 10 points and 11 boards this season. His teammate, 6-foot, 165-pound junior combo guard Jacoby Davis, is another player being pursued by D-1 schools – at a smaller level.
Davis, who does most of his scoring from the perimeter, averaged 18 points per game this season and did all he could to keep Meridian alive as it was knocked out of the playoffs by Northwest Rankin. Davis finished with 39.
South Alabama, Murray State and Northwestern have expressed interest in the honor roll student who has already posted a 24 on the ACT.
``I like to handle the ball more and I'm more comfortable with ball in my hands," Davis said. "But I play mostly the two-guard in the summer."
Both McGowan and Davis are expected to play with the Jackson Panthers this summer.