Jarrick Bowe is one of the premier players in New York’s hottest up and coming basketball league CCAA. This interview was conducted before a game during the 2014 season
I walked into this interview, truly not sure what to expect. Having never met this young athlete, I could only make assumptions on what I’d heard: talented, young, black, rising star in the league. I’m ashamed to admit that I expected him to be tall, cocky, and difficult to interview. I was introduced to him and was immediately struck by his height (not the usual 6’9). He shook my hand and said a quiet hello, and then we found a place to sit and talk, while he waited for his game to begin. He was admittedly nervous, and that said a lot to me about this young man, before I could ask a single question.
His name is Jarrick Marcus Bowe. To get to know this twenty-four year old, you have to understand his family and background. Jarrick was born and raised in NYC, moving between Brooklyn and Queens. His parents split up fairly early, and Jarrick found himself spending a lot of his time with his grandmother. What’s surpising though? Jarrick says he is most like his dad, whom he spent the least amount of time with. He attributes his laid back, somewhat nonchalant attitude to the man he hardly knows. But Jarrick’s admiration is clear when he talks about his mom, her sacrifice, and hard work to provide for him and his three sisters, of which he is the oldest. He also has been blessed with a step-father who he calls his “biggest fan”, coaching and helping him on and off the court. When asked about his personal dating life, I expected this shy young man to shun my “are you dating anyone” question; but to my surprise, he proudly stated that he had been dating a young lady for eight years! That he is deeply in love is obvious from the smile on his face, to the way he proclaimed, “That’s my baby girl!” They met in high school, and have been going strong ever since. But it’s clear that Jarrick and his girlfriend are focused on their rising careers; his, of course, being basketball and hers, a talented dancer.
When talking about his basketball career, Jarrick was an odd mix of humility and unwavering confidence. He talked about deciding at the age of nine, to be a basketball player. He played only about two seconds of the season, mainly because of his height, and that continued to be a problem even in his high school years. Jarrick Bowe never played on an organized basketball team until college, and it was the confidence in himself and his abilities that got him there. He attended Queensboro College and played for two seasons, but difficulty with the coaching staff left the players, including Jarrick, unhappy and the team unsuccessful. Jarrick did not give up, even in the midst of many disappointments and failures, he continued to play. He took his frustrations out on the court, knowing that was where he felt most at home, most accepted and most understood. “Basketball just makes sense.” He says, “It makes everything in my life make sense. I wish everything could be so simple.”His dedication and talent did not go unnoticed. While playing in a showcase in Texas, a coach was impressed and Jarrick was invited to come back and audition for a chance to play for a team in Ontario. He is now nervously anticipating his move to Ontario, sad to be leaving his girlfriend and family behind, but excited for what the future holds. What are his future plans? He seems to have a love for coaching , and guiding the younger generation (something he didn’t feel he had coming up in the sport).
I had heard a lot about Jarrick’s skill on the court from other players in CCAthletics, some calling him “one of the fastest players in the league”, but I was curious to know what he thought his strengths and weaknesses were. He listed his strengths as speed, ball-handling and defense, and his weaknesses as decision-making and strength; that he is always looking to improve his game is more than obvious.
I closed the interview with one final questions, “What is one thing you want people to know about you?”
He hesitated for a long time with this question, telling me he didn’t want people to think he was cocky.
Finally, he answered, “Don’t underestimate me.”
I understood why. Everyone had underestimated him, his talent, his determination. But Jarrick is proving himself where it counts, on the court.
UPDATE: Jarrick’s team won the championship that season and he went on to claim league MVP honors.