Midnight Madness returns to Cole Field House
It was in a gymnasium outside of Philadelphia in the middle of July when I watched a freakishly athletic guard fly over some poor, unprepared soul and throw down a violent slam in transition during an AAU game in 2011.
The team-provided roster, notoriously incorrect or incomplete on the amateur circuit, did not list a name for the player who had just stunned the gym with his dunk. I turned to the person next to me and asked, “Who’s that?”
“That’s Garland Owens,” the man said.
Owens, a native of Gaithersburg, Md., was playing for Mid-Atlantic Select, one of the smaller amateur teams in the area.
At the time, Owens was an athletic anomaly for a shooting guard who was developing in other parts of his game. Two years later, what happened on Thursday night in Chestnut Hill, Mass., against Maryland wasn’t much of a surprise.
Owens, now a freshman at Boston College after spending a year in prep school, caught an alley-oop pass from point guard Olivier Hanlan on the fast break and slammed it over the top of Maryland forward Jake Layman and guard Nick Faust.
It was just like in that gymnasium outside of Philadelphia, except this time we knew who No. 0 was without asking. That’s Garland Owens.
But it wasn’t just the Owens dunk that was impressive on Thursday night. The Gaithersburg native had a career-high 16 points in 19 minutes, including 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range.
For much of the night, Maryland made it a point to stop Hanlan, a Top 5 scorer in the ACC, and dared Owens to beat them from the perimeter. He did, for the most part.
There’s no doubt that Owens brings athleticism. It will be watching the other parts of his game develop that will allow him to find success during his (expected) four years at Boston College.