Just like that, Tennessee’s — and everyone else’s — season was over.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 forced conferences hands. Tournaments were canceled, the season was over. Seniors had suddenly played their last games in college without even knowing it.
But some chatter around the college athletics world suggests that seniors like Jordan Bowden could be granted another year of eligibility. Nothing has been announced officially by the NCAA, but it’s certainly a topic being heavily discussed after seniors across the country didn’t get a chance to finish their careers.
On Thursday, Bowden talked about the possibility of returning to Tennessee.
“Man, I’d love to stay here at UT, but it’s just something I would have to talk about with my family and things like that,” Bowden said via videoconference. “But I would love to come back.”
The senior guard didn’t finish his career like he wanted. It was a struggle for Bowden for much of the year, filled with shooting slumps and overall inconsistent play. Still, the Knoxville native finished averaging 13.7 points per game. But his shooting percentages dipped, particularly from three-point range. Bowden shot just 28 percent from three, down from 37 percent as a junior.
He’s currently 24th on Tennessee’s all-time scoring list with 1,365 points.
Rick Barnes is unsure where he sits on the issue of giving extra eligibility, noting that several conferences had already finished up their tournaments the week before.
Bowden had some NBA chatter after the conclusion of his junior season. At 6-5, he’s got the size and ability to play at both ends of the floord as a pro. But his senior year highlighted the inconsistencies that have always kept him from getting to that next level as a player. Another year could be beneficial for Bowden, but Tennessee’s roster next season is already guard heavy as it.
Five-star guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson will join the mix with Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James set to return. Victor Bailey Jr. will become eligible as well. Because of this, we’ve already seen Jalen Johnson opt to transfer. How would Bowden’s presence change the rotation?
Again, to be clear, we haven’t had any definitive word that this is even an option from the NCAA. But it’s clearly something that Bowden hasn’t closed the door on just yet.