Former Missouri Tiger Laurence Bowers will get a chance to continue his professional basketball career overseas.
Bowers, a 6-foot-8, 227-pound forward, said Thursday he reached a one-year deal with Hapoel Holon, which plays in the top division of Israeli basketball.
“They want me to be a stretch four, a guy that can get out in the open floor because I can shoot the ball,” Bowers said. “They say I’ll potentially play the three when needed.”
Bowers, who completed his masters’ degree at Missouri this spring, is eager to show what he can do after averaging 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in six games with the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Summer League.
“I thought I did well with the minutes that were given,” said Bowers, who ranked ninth on the Grizzlies in minutes per game with 11.5. “I really didn’t get feedback from them, my minutes were very limited. But I enjoyed the experience, they had a great staff and I got along with everybody.”
Bowers overcame an assortment of knee problems his last two years of college, helping lead Missouri to a 23-11 record and an NCAA Tournament berth last season. After missing the 2011-12 season because of a torn ACL, Bowers sprained his MCL last year but still led Missouri in scoring with 14.1 points while pulling down 6.1 rebounds per game. He went undrafted in June, but latched on with the Grizzlies.
“If you love the game, you know obstacles will be thrown in your way,” said Bowers, who added that his knees feel great. “I have dealt with a lot last few years. Not being drafted was an obstacle. Not being picked up after summer league is another. But I’ve seemed to do well with dealing with adversity.”
Bowers still has his mind on making it to the NBA one day.
“I most definitely feel like I belong in the NBA, but everybody’s path doesn’t always work out like that,” Bowers said. “I’m a realist, I understand my situation. I definitely feel I deserve to be there. Regardless of how long it takes, whether it’s next year, the year after or six years down the road, I’m going to continue to work until I make it.”
Bowers said he talked to former Missouri Tiger Keith Ramsey, who played for a second-division club in Israel called Ironi Ramat Gan last season. Bowers’ first workout with Hapoel Holon is Sept. 1.
Until then, he will spend as much time with his family as he can. Bowers has long said that once he turns pro, he will do whatever he can to support his single mother, Nancy, and 15-year old sister, Amelia, who live in Memphis.
“I’m gonna make sure I can lay a foundation for my mom and sister,” said Bowers, who said he would like to enroll Amelia in a private high school in the fall. “That’s going to happen.”