The rest of WPIAL Class AA basketball can relax. Maverick Rowan is not coming back to Lincoln Park.
Rowan played at Lincoln Park as a freshman and sophomore and became a WPIAL star before leaving the Beaver County charter school and transferring to Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last August. A few months ago, Rowan's father, Ron, said there was a chance he could come back to Lincoln Park for his senior year.
But Maverick Rowan won't be playing at Lincoln Park. He won't be playing high school basketball at all this upcoming season. He will not have a senior year. Instead, he will be playing major-college basketball in the ACC.
Rowan decided to graduate early from high school. He took a few summer courses to reach his requirements, got a diploma Friday and made a verbal commitment to North Carolina State on Sunday. He will leave for N.C. State in a few weeks and be eligible to play this season.
Rowan is a highly-touted, 6-foot-7, 210-pound shooting guard. Before his sophomore year at Lincoln Park, he committed to Pitt, but reopened his recruitment last fall when he transferred to Cardinal Gibbons. At one time before he decided to graduate early, he was rated among the top 50 players in the class of 2016. He had a number of scholarship offers. His other finalists were St. John's, Louisville and West Virginia.
Rowan scored 1,482 points as a freshman and sophomore at Lincoln Park and had 142 3-pointers. He averaged 26.5 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 61.3 percent from the field this past season for Cardinal Gibbons. He led the team to the Florida 5A state championship and finished his career with 2,382 career points. He is an excellent shooter and scores in a variety of ways. He has gotten stronger in the past year, adding 20 pounds since he left for Florida last August.
Below are some comments from Rowan about his college choice and a few other subjects. But before that, let's set the record straight on a few other things.
*** Rowan was NOT ineligible to play his final year of high school because of his age. He could have played. Rowan turned 19 last month, which is not over the age limit in Pennsylvania or Florida. In Pennsylvania, a student-athlete can't turn 19 before July 1 and be eligible.
*** Rowan's father, Ron, has been a big part of his son's career, training him and working as an assistant coach at some of Maverick's schools. But Ron Rowan, his wife and family are not moving to the N.C. State area. The family is moving back to their old house in Beaver County in the Central Valley School District. They were on their way back Sunday.
*** Maverick Rowan said North Carolina State being an adidas school had nothing to do with his decision. When the family moved to Florida, Ron Rowan said he might take a job with adidas. But Maverick said, "He never worked for adidas. A shoe brand didn't have anything to do with anything."
Now some comments from Rowan about a variety of other subjects:
On N.C. State's recruitment: "They started recruiting me after I opened up my recruiting. They were the second team to come down and visit me. They've been on me since day one. ... I didn't have any favorites early on. Throughout the year, N.C. State recruited me like everyone else. They supported me all year. I developed a great relationship with [assistant] coach [Orlando] Early and coach [Mark] Gottfried."
On style of play: "Style of play was definitely a big factor. I think I can fit any style of play, but the style of play I want to play is at N.C. State. Coach Gottfried does a great job of getting up shots for his wings. I think I can go in and fit in right away."
On whether he is ready to play major-college basketball now and whether he will play a lot as a freshman: "I feel I can compete in the ACC right now. It doesn't make any sense to go back for my senior year in high school. I'm definitely going to play a lot [as a freshman]. I wouldn't go there if I wasn't going to play. I wouldn't skip my senior year."
On whether he had anything to prove this summer on the AAU circuit: "I didn't have anything to prove this summer. I just wanted to go out and have fun."
On whether if he had to do it over again, would he and his family move to Florida for one year: "I think it was a great move for myself and my family. I don't think it would've benefited me as much playing Lincoln Park's season. I played against much quicker, faster competition."
On his eagerness to start college: "I'm very happy. I'm very excited. I can't wait to get on campus. Move-in day is August 15th."
Some final thoughts: Look for Rowan to see plenty of time as a freshman at N.C. State. There is no way he would've chosen any college without being assured to see playing time, if not start.
Watching highlights of Maverick from Cardinal Gibbons, his game improved this past season. He was certainly talented as a sophomore, but it was easy for him, playing the top in a 1-3-1 zone trap, and scoring loads of points off steals by his teammates and fast breaks. But he has gotten stronger - and better - in the past year. He is a "scorer." He is not the quickest cat in the world, but he can score - and still really shoot.
Lastly, things certainly worked out for Rowan after his move. But I believe he would've been recruited just as heavily if he stayed at Lincoln Park. He got offers originally from his play on the AAU circuit. That's the reality of today's basketball, like it or not. Coaches recruit kids mostly from how they play at the AAU level. He had plenty of major colleges wanting him and not just because of playing at Cardinal Gibbons.