WADE HAMPTON — Bryce McGowens felt hearing his name called in the 2022 NBA Draft was the culmination of all the hard work he’s put in over the years.
“I don’t know what was going through my head. It was unreal,” McGowens told the Greenville News over the weekend.
“Everything was kind of blacked out…knowing that a lot of early mornings, late nights, a lot of hours (were) spent on this.”
At Bob Jones University, attending the Sizzlin’ Summer Shootout to watch Legacy Early College and other players he said he knew, McGowens was a picture of basketball success.
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The former Wren and LEC standout, who scored nearly 2,000 points in three seasons at Wren, was drafted with the 40th overall pick on Thursday night. The pick, originally held by the Minnesota Timberwolves, was traded to Charlotte for draft rights Josh Minott (45th overall pick) and the 2023 New York Knicks second-round draft pick.
McGowens is an upstate native who played at Wren High School in Anderson County from 2017-2020, then spent his senior season (2020-21) at Legacy Early College. A five-star rookie in the Class of 2021, McGowens was South Carolina’s top rookie according to 247Sports and played in Nebraska for one season before leaving to pursue his NBA career dreams – becoming the first Cornhusker to become a player and made .
In his only season with the Cornhuskers, McGowens averaged 16.8 points and 5.1 rebounds and was named Big Ten Newcomer of the Year. While at Wren, he earned all-state honors every season and was selected The Greenville News Upstate Player of the Year as a junior.
Playing close to home, sharing the NBA dream with his brother
Like his younger brother Bryce, Trey McGowens – who also played Wren for three seasons – will have a shot at success in the NBA.
Trey, according to a report from the Omaha World-Herald, will play with the Los Angeles Clippers this summer after being drafted.
“We both have an opportunity, it’s unbelievable,” McGowens said. “Both have the opportunity to play in the NBA. Few brothers have both the chance to play in the NBA and have the opportunity to compete at the highest level. Both of us, being able to compete at the highest level means a lot for our family and ourselves.”
McGowens said he felt he had a pretty good practice session with Charlotte about two weeks before the draft and knew about the trade almost immediately. He also said he has already moved to Charlotte and is ready to report back to the organization in the coming weeks.
“They really believed in me,” McGowens said as his former school, LEC, awaited their next match at the tournament on Saturday. “I just came out to show my support for the young guys, show my face and give these guys something to look at…I would say just inspire them to keep going.”
Michigan native Joe Dandron covers high school sports for The Greenville News. You can contact him for questions, story tips and more about prep sports at 864-415-6213 or by email at [email protected]