Hard work pays off for '15 prospect Owens

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Orlando, Fla., junior Alex Owens recently picked up an offer from the University of Louisville. The offer has made Owens get back into the gym and work even harder. Cardinal Authority caught up with him at the Nike Peach Jam this week.

Instead of relaxing after he got his latest big offer, Alex Owens is turning the offer into fuel.

The Orlando player received an offer from Louisville late June, and he's been both flattered and energized by it.

"It was like, all my hard work paid off," said Owens, who added he was at a friend's house when he got the official call. "It just made me want to get into the gym more and grind harder."

The 6-foot-8 ,220-pound Owens is playing for on E1T1 Elite 17U at this year's EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam at North Augusta's Riverview Park Activities Center. In a competition filled mostly with rising seniors, Alex Owens is only a soon-to-be junior. He's even the lone class of 2015 player on E1T1 Elite 17U, according to the Peach Jam booklet.

Owens said he welcomes the challenge of going up against older players, since it allows him to really showcase his potential by standing out as a younger player.

Through the first three games of the Peach Jam, Owens hasn't played more than 17 minutes in any game. However, he's shot a combined 8-for-10 and has grabbed 21 rebounds. He was the team's leading rebounder in one game and was a co-leader in another.

Owens said he hopes to visit Louisville soon, but he doesn't know when such a visit could possibly happen. However, he said he does talk with assistant coach Mike Balado. Those discussions are usually about Owens' potential and school. Owens also said he looks up to coach Rick Pitino, especially for his history of developing players for the NBA.

"Louisville is a good school," Owens said. "Coach Rick Pitino is a good coach – he's one of the best. They just won a national championship, so it can't get better than that. It's nice to get an offer from the national champ."

He said he doesn't have a favorite right now, as he's instead focused on showing his abilities to more coaches.

"I don't have no favorite right now," Owens said. "It's just another offer for me to grind."

Owens did name Florida, Miami and South Florida as some of the other big-time schools who have already offered. He also said he hasn't taken any visits yet, as he's spending his time thinking about basketball and school.

But when comparing himself to other basketball players, Owens doesn't hesitate to bring up a current Cardinals player.

"I'm more like a defensive guy. Some people compare me to [Montrezl Harrell] a lot. So that's another good feeling," Owens said. "I like to block shots, get rebounds, run the court, run the court hard, help out my teammates. He does a lot of that."

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