Rowsey ready to start making an impact

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Rowsey ready to start making an impact

Andrew Rowsey was only able to practice with the team during his redshirt year.

Andrew Rowsey was only able to practice with the team during his redshirt year.

Photo by Maggie Bean

Andrew Rowsey was only able to practice with the team during his redshirt year.

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Andrew Rowsey was only able to practice with the team during his redshirt year.

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With just six seconds left on the clock, Marquette found themselves down three points to Belmont in last season’s home opener. A game-tying bucket required advancing the ball the length of the court and hitting a shot against the Bruins’ deny-anything-around-the-arc defense.

Head coach Steve Wojchiechowski flooded the floor with his best perimeter threats, though particularly astute fans knew that perhaps the team’s strongest sniper wasn’t even allowed on the court at all. Swapping the bumblebee-striped jersey for a blazer and blue-and-gold tie, redshirt transfer Andrew Rowsey was perched on the bench biding his time and dying to get on the hardwood.

Situations like these are what Rowsey said killed him the most last year.

“I really wanted to play in the Belmont game,” Rowsey said. “Just about every game, actually. I just wanted to be out there. I just wanted to help my teammates.”

Rowsey, who transferred from UNC Asheville in May 2015 after his sophomore season, spent all of last year riding the pine due to NCAA transfer regulations. The last time the rules allowed him to play, the 5-foot-10 guard nabbed 19.2 points per game and clipped threes at a steady 38.2 percent. Now, with his game another year in the making and two years left of eligibility, he’s hoping to add some scoring punch to the Golden Eagles lineup.

As a redshirt, Roswey’s life as a student-athlete proved much different from his teammates’ — always putting in the work, but never getting to reap the rewards. He practiced day-in and day-out with the squad but had to wear street clothes to home games and wasn’t allowed to travel with the team for away games, per NCAA rules.

“It was tough. I had to watch every game on TV and watch it from our apartment. It was definitely different not being at the games. You feel like you’re part of the team, but at the same time you don’t because you can’t even be there,” Rowsey said. “It was definitely a learning experience, and now I just can’t wait to get back on the court.”

The year off became a true test of patience, with a competitive drought saved only by in-practice drills and scrimmages, as well as periodic stops at the Rec to get pick-up reps in and polish his game.

“I haven’t played an actual game in a year and a half now,” Rowsey said. “It’s weird. Now I have a complete different mindset. Last year around this time I had nothing to look forward to, I had a whole year to wait. Now the season’s just a couple weeks away and I can’t wait.”

Being allowed to fly off real screens and put up real shots in real games has brought him even closer to his teammates. Lucky for him, they’re happy to let the sharpshooter go to work.

“(Playing with Rowsey) is great,” sophomore guard Traci Carter said. “It’s beyond words. He’s one of the best shooters in the world. Not in the country — in the world.”

With Carter working as the traditional set-up man point guard and Rowsey as an attention-demanding off-ball threat, the backcourt duo look the part of a potent point-scoring partnership.

“He’s awesome to play with. He complements me and I complement him. It’s going to be fun playing with a guy who can shoot like that,” Carter said. “Basically, I see me passing him the ball and then the ball going in the basket.”

Beyond the shooting archetype Rowsey so easily fits into, Wojciechowski sees an even greater role for his newly rostered talent.

“He’s a guy who’s put the ball in the basket at very high level, but he’s not just a shooter,” Wojciechowski said. “I think he’s a guy who can make plays and we need him to be a dynamic offensive player. He needs to be a tough competitor at the defensive end. I think you always look for leadership from the guard position at that end of the floor. We need him to provide all those things for our team.”

Whatever the role may be, Rowsey is just happy to be back on the floor.

“I can’t wait,” Rowsey said. “I just want to start playing and competing again.”

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