After spending his first two seasons of eligibility at Texas A&M, Denzel Bowles
made the decision to transfer to James Madison, where he made and immediate impact for the Dukes in the CAA. After attending the Amar'e Stoudemire Skills Academy this summer, Bowles is another player worth keeping an eye on, as he has NBA size, great hands, and solid footwork.
Standing 6'10 with a solid frame that has some potential and a giant wingspan, Bowles has the physical tools to play the center position at the next level. A decent athlete who could stand to get into better shape so he can run the floor a bit harder, Bowles has good mobility for the college game, but would not stand out amongst the crowd in the NBA. He shows some leaping ability at times, but isn't terribly explosive unless he has a moment to gather himself. Considering his excellent size, Bowles is a player who would benefit immensely from adding some muscle to his frame, especially in his lower body.
While he may need to make some adjustments to improve his opportunity to make an impact on the NBA level, Bowles is already a highly efficient and productive small-conference college player. Imposing his size and athleticism on smaller, slower bigs on a nightly basis, Bowles ranked amongst the top-10 players in our database in PER
. Shooting nearly 60% from the field and averaging a shade below a double-double, Bowles dominated the Colonial Athletic Association in his first year with the Dukes.
Bowles's success on the offensive end is predicated on his size, willingness to take contact, and solid footwork. Capable of establishing deep position on the block, he gets nearly 50% of his touches in post-up situations according to Synergy Sports Technology. While he flashes an occasional up and under or nice step through move, the senior doesn't show force too many advanced post moves. He is most efficient when he works to the middle of the floor where he can simply elevate over defenders to score, and while he seems to lack much in the way of a turnaround jump shot, his footwork, touch, and ability to use his body make him very prolific on the block. Usually able to just turn, seal, and finish against less athletic defenders, he puts the ball on the floor almost every time he gets it with his back to the basket, making him rather turnover prone. If Bowles can develop a go-to-move this season and add some reverse pivots to his repertoire, he could post tremendous efficiency numbers.
When he isn't working in the post, Bowles ranks amongst the most efficient finishers in the NCAA. While his size certainly plays a role in that, he exploits his length very effectively, often finishing plays on the other side of the rim with reverse layups when he has space and pulling down offensive rebounds at a good rate. Capable of using his dribble to get to the rim with straight line drives against slower opponents from the midrange, Bowles flashes some perimeter shooting touch, but doesn't take very many shots away from the immediate vicinity of the rim.
Defensively, Bowles does not use his physical tools as assertively as he does on the offensive end. His length allows him to block some shots and pull down some rebounds, but he's often a step slow on his rotations and doesn't seem to play with a consistent motor. Though he fares pretty well sitting in the middle of James Madison's zone, his one-on-one ability leaves a bit to be desired. His ability to step up defensively will be a big part to how he's projected moving into next spring.
Bowles's dominance last season was impressive, but if he can improve his conditioning and play harder defensively, he could raise his stock quite a bit heading into next summer. If Bowles can make some strides in those areas and play James Madison to the top of the CAA, he could generate some nice buzz.