Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen is shooting at the Highlands Ranch on Monday, February 8, 2021.
Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen (center) drives to the Tires as JV Tyrone Williams (left) and Andrew Collier defend him during practice at the Highlands Ranch on Monday, February 8, 2021.
Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen shoots during a practice session at the Highlands Ranch on Monday, February 8, 2021.
Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen, left, cheers his teammates during training at the Highlands Ranch on Monday, February 8, 2021.
Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen leaves the gym after training at the Highlands Ranch on Monday, February 8, 2021.
Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen, in the middle, jokes with striker Ty Strawbridge after training at the Highlands Ranch on Monday February 8th, 2021.
Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen (right) will take part on Monday, February 8th February 8, 2021, participated in a target practice with striker Ty Strawbridge while training at the Highlands Ranch.
Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen will shoot at the Highlands Ranch on Monday, February 8, 2021 .
Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen will shoot at the Highlands Ranch Monday, February 8, 2021.
Mountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen will shoot Monday, on February 8, 2021, at the Highlands Ranch.
Ryan Bowen acquired had a reputation as a seedy defender for over a decade of the NBA game, the biggest contributions seldom featured in statistics in five Nuggets seasons.
Bowen, who has been Nuggets’ assistant coach for six years, can’t look forward to his game days. But ask Bowen about his eldest son, Ben, a senior point guard at Mountain Vista High School, and a proud basketball father who lights up. The child can play.
With Colorado high school season well underway, one of the state’s top players is a do-it-all senior at the Highlands Ranch with NBA bloodlines. Ben Bowen, who has pledged to play at the University of Wyoming next year, seems humble on the pitch, with a lanky 6-foot-5 frame and messy blonde hair.
Bowen has double-doubles in recent wins against Denver East and Douglas County with a total of 31 points and 22 assists. He leads an unbeaten Mountain Vista team (5: 0) – according to the CHSAA in 3rd place in class 5A – with a relentless leadership style.
« There’s no man I would trade it for, » said Brian Wood, Mountain Vista coach. “In practice we get our share of fights. He is right at the front. … He drove into a few people this year and pounced on them, and physically he still has a long way to go. It just scratches the surface. »
Ben Bowen’s basketball rise may seem predictable as his father qualified for 507 career NBA games among the Nuggets, Rockets, Hornets and Thunder. However, as a newcomer to Mountain Vista, Ben was only six feet tall and was initially not considered the best player in his class.
Eli Imadali, special of Denver PostMountain Vista High School basketball star Ben Bowen in the middle, drives to the hoop as JV Tyrone Williams (left) and Andrew Collier defend him during practice at the Highlands Ranch on Monday, February 8, 2021 .
« I don’t know if I saw myself as a Division I basketball player starting high school, but it was always the goal, » Bowen said. « I just picked the people I really trusted to coach me. »
Growing up on the fringes of the NBA at a young age, Bowen taught the dedication it takes to become the best. As an elementary school student, Ben attended almost all of his father’s home games in his final season with the New Orleans Hornets. Ryan Bowen later rose in the coaching ranks from the University of Iowa to the Nuggets under George Karl and the Kings under Michael Malone.
Ben Bowen lived in Colorado with his siblings and mother, Wendy, while his father trained in Sacramento. But Malone strongly encouraged the families to join the team in training as well, with Ben sometimes visiting the gym to help out as an additional rebounder. Malone has since kept an eye on Ben’s basketball development and even named Mountain Vista Hoops « Go Eagles » during a press conference this week.
« I met (Ben), saw him play and saw his maturity as a young player, » said Malone. « He plays well. I’m just proud of him.… I feel very close to Ben and her whole family because we spend so much time together. We live in the same neighborhood. We’re a ton around each other.
« Hard work pays off. This young man has put a lot of time into his craft and obviously he has big strides to fill. Because his father was a Helluva player in Iowa and the NBA. I’m a huge fan . »
When the Nuggets hired Malone to head coach in 2015, he kept Ryan Bowen on his team – and brought their family back together in Colorado. It gave Ben a deeper look at how an NBA postseason contender is built from the ground up.
« I’ve had the privilege of having a few conversations with Nikola (Jokic) over the past few years and he’s a really great guy, » said Ben Bowen. « I’m definitely listening. »
Bowen’s basketball transformation from frail newbie to eminent senior was more than just a product of his upbringing. It required a determination that became ultra-focused as a pandemic progressed.
« He really used that time to work on his body and his game, » said Ryan Bowen. “The biggest thing was his general work ethic. Even in fifth or sixth grade he wasn’t the tallest or strongest. He wasn’t the sportiest. He just had this urge to get better. »
Ben recognizes a number of coaches for his development, but gave his father special recognition. Even if Ryan Bowen was not a family member in Sacramento, the two of them would practice FaceTime together early in the morning – maybe 20 minutes before school to work on ball-handling exercises – to keep the father and son connected in basketball.
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« In retrospect, he always had a plan for me, » said Ben Bowen, « and he always told me, ‘Work hard. The growth and strength will come. »
Papa was right. Ryan Bowen giggles when someone tells him, I see a lot of your game in Ben.
“He has a knack for hitting and driving the ball with some of his shots. This is something that a lot of people think a lot like me, especially at a young age, ”said Ryan Bowen. « There are some similarities. »
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