WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW Sports)–For the second time in a month, a UNCW men’s basketball transfer has received legislative waiver relief to compete in 2019-20.
The Seahawks, who open the new season on Tuesday, Nov. 5, against Johnson & Wales, are now at full strength after NCAA officials cleared John Bowen, a former West Bladen High School standout and transfer from NCAA Division II Belmont Abbey, to play this season.
Mike Okauru, a transfer from Florida, was previously cleared by the NCAA in early September.
Bowen returns to eastern North Carolina to finish out his career at UNCW. The 6-8, 185-pound forward played the last two years at Belmont Abbey near Charlotte.
Bowen saw action in 56 games, starting 23 contests, in two seasons with the Crusaders. He averaged 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds over that span, shooting 50.6 percent from the floor and 72.5 percent at the free throw line.
Belmont Abbey went 23-8 overall and 14-4 in the conference last season and dropped a 75-72 decision to Emanuel in the Conference Carolinas championship game. Bowen had eight points and five boards in the title contest.
At West Bladen, Bowen averaged 16.4 points to help Coach Travis Pait’s Knights compile an 18-10 record in his senior year following a 20-8 junior season. He was an All-Conference selection and made Third-Team All-Region and Second-Team All-District.
“John really impressed me on his visit with his athleticism and skill,” said C.B. McGrath, UNCW’s third-year head coach. “He wants to be coached and wants to reach his potential. He has a high ceiling and we’re excited he is a Seahawk. He is an above the rim player and that is something we love having. He has worked hard to progress and will continue with his mindset and work ethic.”