Friday, April 18, 2014
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Tom McGowan isn’t shy about playing with an edge, perhaps because he hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to be cut from a team or to miss a whole season because of an injury.
2012 Press Herald File/John Patriquin
Even in practice Tom McGowan shows the kind of wide-eyed intensity that’s made him a standout at Windham High despite limited opportunity to play organized basketball until a couple seasons ago.
Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer
Thornton Academy at Deering boys' basketball, 7 p.m. Friday at pressherald.com/sports
Shooting at his basket in his driveway, McGowan would set up props to help him improve.
"I had all kinds of things. I would set up a ladder in front of the basket so I would have to shoot over it," he said.
The summer before his sophomore year, McGowan was a familiar sight early in the morning shooting around in the school gym, a routine he continued before school that fall.
The extra work paid off. McGowan made the varsity after initially being pegged for the junior varsity team. Then in the season opener, he's at point guard.
"It was nerve racking at first," said McGowan. "Getting used to the faster pace was the biggest thing."
Having become a starter, McGowan wanted more.
"I wasn't satisfied with just being a starter," he said.
Heading into his senior season, McGowan said he's stronger and more athletic. He can use his left hand as well as his right. The Eagles will look for McGowan to score more this season.
"I like to slash to the basket and draw contact," he said.
"Tom's gone through a lot," said his father, Dan.
"He was quite down on himself after not making the team in the seventh grade. He set goals for himself and has worked hard to achieve them. As parents, we're quite proud of him. "
Over the past year, McGowan's drive has expanded. Concerned about being pegged as only a basketball player, McGowan, an honor roll student, has branched out.
"I feel I'm a pretty good athlete. People were telling me I was just a basketball player."
Two years ago, he would have been happy with that tag, but not now.
Last spring, he went out for lacrosse for the first time, and this fall, McGowan became the starting goalie in soccer after having never played that position before.
"I think Tom realized in this age of specialization that being an all-around athlete could help him in the long run," said Millington.
Millington calls on McGowan's experience in another way during the winter. He has his point guard talk to middle school students who have been cut from the team.
McGowan was at a low point just like them, and look where he is now.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: