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Laurence Bowers maintains Mizzou roots during international off-season

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I was able to catch up with the former Mizzou great and rising international. Bowers shared great insight into playing internationally while also discussing his youth basketball foundation.

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Tramel Raggs: What do you miss most from your time at Mizzou?

Laurence Bowers: The overall team camaraderie. The chemistry that we had on and off the court has translated to form some of the best friendships and brotherhoods that I have until this day.

TR: Which year at Mizzou meant the most to you?

LB: I made the tournament all five years of my Mizzou career, but my fifth year [meant the most] simply because I had overcome the adversities of having ACL reconstructive surgery, not expiring my eligibility with my original class, and, most importantly, receiving my Master's degree.

What is your biggest regret about your time at Mizzou if any?

I really do not have any regrets from my time at Mizzou. It was an awesome five years. Even as a professional, I still think back on my days at Mizzou.

What is the hardest part about the NCAA tournament?

In my opinion, the hardest part about the NCAA tournament is dealing with the fact that anybody can beat anybody. Usually throughout the non-­conference and conference seasons, teams can sometimes gauge a win based on the other teams’ shortcomings. In the NCAA tournament, every team that is there is there for a reason. You can only prepare a little in the short time given and you've probably seen very minimum of the team that you’re playing prior to the selection show. Every team is capable!

How did you become an international basketball player?

Becoming an international basketball player has a lot to do with how you performed in college. My process was simple. I hired an agent who was in contact with many teams that had expressed interest in me during my rookie summer. My agent ​presented every contract offered to me and I decided which one was best. I signed it and my wife and I were on our way.

How was the cultural transition from the United States to Israel?

The cultural transition wasn't too bad at all. The Israeli people were very accommodating to us Americans. Luckily for my wife and I, we were in a city that was five minutes away from Tel Aviv, which could easily be an American city. The one thing culturally different was their annual Shabbat which took place from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. During that time, we couldn't do much because everything was closed and many people only spent time with their families. My wife and I actually enjoyed being around families during Shabbat. It really makes you value family. Although we are not Jewish, we have agreed upon making a similar tradition in our household in the future.

What adjustments did you have to make to your playing style, in order to make the transition to international basketball?

The biggest adjustments for me were:

  1. Not being able to sweep through from the Triple Threat stance.
  2. Not doing so many spin moves because they are called travels more times than not.
  3. Knocking the ball off of the rim after a shot has been taken and hasn't gone through the net clean.

How were you able to communicate with your teammates?

Every teammate that I have had in my three­ year career has spoken fluent English so communicating has never been an issue for me.

How does free agency work in the overseas league?

Any team can sign you as long as you are not in contract with another team. If you belong to another team and a team wants to sign you, they must pay a buyout before offering you a contract.

Are there transfers/ trades from league to league similar to soccer?

I’m not a soccer fan by any means, but there ​aren't trades within the leagues, to the best of my knowledge. However, if a player gets cut from one team, another team in the league can sign him without having to pay a buyout fee.

Is playing internationally a glamorous lifestyle? How does it compare to playing at a "Power 5" University like Mizzou?

Playing internationally can be a glamorous lifestyle if you are in a great city in a country. Luckily for my wife and I, we have spent two out of our three years in Tel­ Aviv, Israel which had everything we needed (different types of food, entertainment, landmarks, etc.). I will say that the biggest "pro" to playing professionally overseas is being able to explore the world. You get to see things that you probably wouldn't see in your lifetime if you weren't playing basketball abroad.

What are your current basketball goals? For example, is making it to the NBA still the goal or have you set your sights on a different level international league that you you'd ultimately like to play for?

Making it to the NBA will always be the ultimate goal, but in the meantime, advancing to the highest level of European basketball is what I am trying to do.

Who do you have making the Final Four/winning the big dance this year? (Note: this interview occured last week).

I believe that UNC has a good shot.

What are your plans post professional basketball?

After my years of playing basketball, I would love to get into coaching at the collegiate level.

Can you provide us with some more information about your foundation and upcoming camps?

My company, LBO Sports LLC, is the company that runs all of my summer basketball camps, speaking engagements, and basketball lessons throughout Missouri and Tennessee. This year, LBO Sports will be hosting five different camps: the Inaugural Father/Child Camp in Columbia, Missouri and four Camp Bowers Basketball Camps, with stops in: Wildwood, MO (Lafayette High School) ­ Jefferson City, MO (Helias High School) ­ Columbia, MO (Rock Bridge High School) ­ Memphis, TN (Hope Church Memphis). Each of LBO Sports' camps are co­ed and range from ages ​eight to 18.

Overwhelmed with the amount of campers that have already registered for our Camp Bowers' Basketball Camps and The...

Posted by Laurence Bowers on Monday, March 28, 2016
Joining Bowers at his camps will be Marcus Denmon, JT Tiller, and Jarrett Sutton, among others.

What was the inspiration behind you starting the foundation?

The inspiration behind me starting up LBO Sports was to promote an excitement for the game of basketball in the youth. Also, to provide a positive event that has prosperous coaches and mentors that could impact the youth by teaching them the game of basketball and motivating them to become someone in life despite future adversity.

What is your ultimate goal for your foundation?

To be a foundation that impacts the youth of today in ways that will never allow them to settle with being average on or off the court and to always persevere through any adversity that may ever be thrown their way. Yes, basketball is our main platform, but teaching young men and women about how to cope and succeed in "life" is a major part of what we do.