Its an overused term, but in the case of Idaho Stampede forward Josh Owens it fits. He really IS a smart basketball player.
Some guys will say that I overthink things, Owens said.
Well, at least this much is true: Owens has done his share of thinking on and off the basketball court. He had to, in order to earn a bachelors degree in economics and a masters degree in civil engineering while playing for Stanford.
The experience was amazing, Owens said of his college days. Youre surrounded by people who are doing special things in athletics and in the classroom.
Owens was not an exception. In addition to his studies, he was named to the All-Pac 12 second team as a senior last season. He left the Cardinal program as one of 21 players to compile at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
So, clearly Owens is a talented player.
But what about those degrees?
I knew I wanted to play after I was done with school, the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder said. Ive been playing basketball for 15, 16 years and its a sport I love. I knew my degrees would be there but right now its all about basketball.
Owens was invited to the Charlotte Bobcats training camp, but released on the final day. His name was kept out of the NBA Development Leagues draft pool while he and his agent pursued opportunities overseas. Several weeks later, the two decided to go the D-League route, after all.
My agent told me, When it happens, its going to happen quick, Owens said. I got the call on (a) Monday and was on a flight to Boise on Tuesday.
Since joining the team in mid-December, Owens has tried to quickly assimilate himself into the Stampede system.
Obviously, Im still shaking off some rust offensively, but right now Im just focusing on the things I know I can do, Owens said. Hopefully, thats been showing on the court in terms of rebounding and defense and just bringing energy.
Hes done that, and hes become a solid presence for Idaho. He started the four games prior to Fridays 96-83 loss against Reno. On Dec. 22 at Los Angeles, he just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
I think he brings a nice competitive edge, coach Mike Peck said. Hes got a little bit of grit to him and he takes things personally when hes out there. Hes a little more aggressive and assertive on the floor, and thats something we need.
Owens is in the early stages of pursuing his pro career, so hes making sure not to get ahead of himself.
Obviously, he said, its about making little improvements, game by game, and hopefully getting an up trend and staying that way.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424