NORWALK — Bowen Born, a skilled 5-foot-11 Norwalk point guard with basketball in his blood, has decided to continue his career at the University of Northern Iowa.
Born committed to UNI Saturday night, choosing the school that gave him his first offer. The 2020 recruit had received interest from a variety of mid-major programs and also took an official visit to Missouri Valley Conference rival Indiana State.
Born tweeted, “Go Panthers! #committed,” Saturday night with a picture of the lefty dribbling in a UNI jersey below the announcement.
Among Born’s basketball influences was his grandfather Gene Klinge — Iowa’s all-time girls’ basketball wins leader who coached at West Central and Waukon for 52 years and compiled 1,009 victories. Born’s dad, Michael, has traveled the country as an NBA scout for the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets and Portland Trailblazers.
“His skill level is so high and just his awareness on the court and his understanding of the game is at such a unique level,” Norwalk head coach Chris Larson said. “When he played with us as an eighth-grader, he would be running our huddles and his communication is off the charts. … It’s unique to have somebody who not only takes care of their own job, but makes everybody around them so much better.”
Born is coming off an incredible junior season in which he averaged 27.8 points per game, leading Norwalk to the Class 3A state championship game where the Warriors were defeated by an Oskaloosa team that featured incoming UNI freshman forward Cole Henry. Elevating his game to the level of competition, Born averaged 32.6 points during those three state tournament contests.
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The Warriors’ point guard also tallied 102 assists versus 41 turnovers last season, knocking down 79 3-pointers at a 35 percent success rate and shooting 85.5 percent from the free throw line.
Larson points out the role Born played averaging 18.4 points on a senior-dominant 22-3 team his sophomore season was just as revealing as the numbers he put up last year. The coach can recall a Senior Night game in which Born only scored four points and took two shots.
“That’s just the kind of player he is,” Larson said. “He understands and is aware of games and situations. It doesn’t always have to be about him. As opportunities have presented itself, he just takes off and runs with it.”
While Born has attracted attention for his offensive floor vision and ability to score at all three levels, Larson believes a complete basketball player will be making the trip to Cedar Falls in 2020.
“The thing that people maybe don’t know is what a good athlete he is and how good he is on defense,” Larson said. “I think that was always a little bit of a knock on him. People think he’s just smaller. I personally think he’s going to surprise a lot of people because he has a lot of bounce to his game.”