Bowie, Terps a perfect fit

He's there quite often, but still Adrian Bowie can't help but marvel at the size and majesty of Comcast Center. For the past three years at Montrose Christian, the future Maryland guard has played in one of the smallest high school gyms around.

"I'm gonna have to get used to it," Bowie said.

But that doesn't mean he hasn't performed in some big-time basketball environments.

The 6-foot-2 combination guard recently finished a successful senior year during which he led the Rockville powerhouse to a 21-3 record and the No. 3 ranking in the Washington area, while averaging 17.8 points, 8.7 assists, 2.7 steals and 3.3 rebounds per game. With his successful high school career finished, Bowie is readying to move on to the next stage – readying himself to be an immediate contributor next year for a Terps team that will be in dire need of help at the wing-guard position.

With the departure of senior D.J. Strawberry, the coaching staff is hoping Bowie can offer some of the same things the dynamic Strawberry has brought for several years. While current freshmen Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes give Maryland a pair of very gifted point-guard types, Bowie is the caliber of athletic slasher and defender who could make an immediate impact.

"I can really see Greivis and Eric Hayes and Adrian on the perimeter at the same time," said Montrose coach Stu Vetter, who also coached Vasquez and Shane Walker – the 6-10 Montrose senior who also has signed with Maryland – at Montrose.

"He's one of the best slashers to the basket that I've coached."

And after several years of hard work, he's also a good ballhandler and shooter. When Bowie arrived at Montrose after spending his freshman year at Bishop McNamara, the lefty couldn't go right effectively and shot the ball from the perimeter with an awkward push-shot, starting with the ball against his chest.

"His jumpshot had to be totally re-worked Vetter said. But "I knew Adrian had major college potential because of his outstanding combination of quickness and speed."

Bowie has steadily improved his shot and plans to take around 500 jumpers a day between now and next season. Though not regarded a three-point marksman, he can hit the jumper enough to keep defenders honest and go right without hesitation. He's also added 15 pounds of muscle during the past season – from 180 to 195 – by working out diligently with Montrose assistant coach Alan Stein in Stein's renowned E.A.T.S. program.

"I'm continuing to put on muscle so I can attack the basket against six-ten, seven-footers in the ACC," said Bowie, who is built more like a college running back than a high school point guard.

Bowie's father, John Bowie, is a former equipment manager for the UM men's basketball program, a friend of the program and a fixture at local high school games.

"His dad is, for lack of a better term, a basketball junkie," Vetter said.

When Adrian was a kid, he worked as a ballboy for the Terps. As a junior in high school, he hit the game-winning shot to lead Montrose to a win over No. 1-ranked Oak Hill in one of the most ballyhooed high school basketball games in years.

Months later he committed to Maryland, where his athleticism and toughness are expected to compliment the more ballhandling-oriented games of Hayes and Vasquez.

"I don't think they expect him to be a point guard, and neither do we," John Bowie said.

Said Adrian, "Hopefully I can be the ‘two man' and get my jumpshot where it's supposed to be."

Time and again this season, Bowie showed the ability to get the basket and score, draw a foul or both. He also locked down one opposing guard after another and produced a few highlight-reel blocks by chasing down a breakaway from behind, rising off of the floor effortlessly and smacking a would-be layup against the glass.

Although he teamed with Vasquez at Montrose, Adrian Bowie doesn't claim to have predicted such immediate success for the Terps' freshman star.

"I had no idea he would do as well as he's doing. Right now, I'm surprised like everyone else," he said. "He works hard and he doesn't back down from anyone. He reminds me of myself. That's why I like playing with him."

If there's anything else Bowie might work on, it's his quiet demeanor. It's not that there's anything wrong with his attitude; he's simply a quiet person by nature.

"He needs to be more vocal," Vetter said.

But he has been talked to his highly touted sophomore teammates Terrell Vinson, Isaiah Armwood and Tristan Spurlock about joining him at Maryland. Though it's unlikely Maryland will have room for all three players, the Terps are keeping close tabs on the three, all of whom project as high-major college players.

It doesn't hurt that The Terps seem to be developing something of a pipeline to Montrose, signing three of Vetter's players in a two-year span.

"I always look at the schools that are good fits for our players," Vetter said. "I think all of them will" look closley at Maryland.

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