Tom Cowie has long been regarded as one of Southland’s most talented basketball prospects.
He’s represented New Zealand at Age Group level and a few short seasons ago played a crucial role in guiding his country to World Championship qualification.
But in basketball there are no “sure things.” In fact the sport is littered with talented “next big things” who find the step up to the senior ranks too big a leap.
If recent months are any indication, Southland basketball and Tom Cowie supporters have nothing to fear.
The 19-year-old point guard has stepped into a leadership role in a young, inexperienced Sharks Summer League squad and he has done much more than simply handle the extra responsibility, he has thrived.
After back to back 38-point efforts over recent weeks, Cowie as on-court general, guided his Tiger Sharks to victory over Central Otago on Saturday and capped his weekend with today’s announcement of his naming in the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks for the 2020 Sal’s National Basketball League.
“We’ve had a (Summer League) team with a lot of young guys, mainly High Schoolers, so you just try and drop knowledge where you can and help them to take the next step up. Even though I’m still young I feel like I’ve got a bit of experience now, I’ve had a couple of years with the Sharks so I’m just trying to be a leader and an aggressor out on court,” he said.
Cowie has worked hard over the NBL off-season to put himself in the best position to thrive in one of the best learning environments in the League for a young guard, guided by new Head Coach Rob Beveridge and playing and training alongside import Australian point guards Jarrad Weeks and Sunday Dech.
“We’ve got a great group and for me to be able to work alongside Weeksy and Sunday, two of the best guards in the League and to go against them every day in training is going to help me get better and hopefully I can really go at them too, so when it comes to game time we are ready.”
“I’ve had a couple of chats with Bevo (Beveridge) and he’s obviously a great coach. You talk to any coach around New Zealand and they highly regard him and have lots of respect for him so I’m so pumped to soak up all his knowledge and I’m pumped for another season of getting better,” Cowie said.
Likewise, Beveridge is looking forward to working alongside Cowie.
“I believe that Tom has a very bright future in basketball and look forward to being able to help him develop through the season. He has had a very good junior career and I am sure that he will continue to develop into a very good player.”
“I know he’s hungry to learn and for me, helping to build the pathways for local players into the Sharks squad is so important. Guys like Tom, Connor (Coll) and Wheels (Andrew Wheeler) have shown how it’s done and they all have crucial roles to play if we are to achieve all that we want to this year,” Beveridge said.