In a game last season, current eighth grader, Javi McGowan dribbled the ball down the court and shouted out the play “horns.” McGowan dribbled past one defender, spun past the second, and scored and an-one against the third defender. McGowan’s teammates helped him up. After McGowan made his free throw shot to take the lead.
McGowan is an eighth-grader and has been playing basketball since he was five years old. He practices five days a week and plays games on the weekends.
His father plays a big role in McGowan’s love for basketball. Mr. Mike McGowan, Javi’s dad, has been a coach for a long time and helped McGowan when he was young letting McGowan watch older teams he coached. McGowan currently plays for Westside’s U14 team and the eighth- grade ASL basketball team.
McGowan’s love for the game is driven by his willingness to compete. “I always want to strive to be the best,” said McGowan. “When I play with kids who are older than me, I try to be my best and help the team as much as possible. That’s why I always want to play against better kids because they help me get better.”
A teammate and friend, eighth-grader Ozan Cetin, says McGowan can never stop talking about the game. Whether he is talking about personal improvement or highlights from a previous game, basketball is always on his mind. He also notices McGowan’s dedication. “ He always wants to practice to improve his physical skills. The amount he practices is crazy.”
Although he has worked hard individually, his coaches along the way have also helped. “All of my coaches have given me the opportunity to improve as well. They have helped me improve my game. My game has really improved over the course of the last three years,” said McGowan. “I love looking back and thinking of how much I have improved, and that feeling is amazing.”
McGowan hopes basketball can pave the way for his education and help him get into a good university. “ I would love to play at University of North Carolina because both of my parents went there,” McGowan said. “If this didn’t happen I don’t know what I would do.”
His dream is to play professional basketball after college and he doesn’t care where.
McGowan’s being introduced to the game of basketball at such a young age and it has inspired him. With the help of coaches and his competitive attitude he may have a chance of fulfilling his dream. “I’m really passionate about the game,” said McGowan.