Wait Almost Over for JMU Junior Bowles

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James Madison junior Denzel Bowles will be in a familiar situation Saturday, when the Dukes host Georgia State: seated in street clothes near the end of the bench.

But Bowles hopes it will be for the last time.

"It's getting old. I'm just ready to play," says Bowles, who by NCAA rule sat out spring semester of last season and the first six games of this year after transferring from Texas A&M.

"I've been doing this about a year now," he says. "So I'm just anxious to get my chance."

With next week's final exams concluding the 2009 fall semester, Bowles is expected to be eligible to play at Eastern Michigan December 12.

It's a game he's been literally counting the days toward.

"I have a mirror, and I wrote down the date of when I can play, and I look at it everyday to give me motivation," he says.

JMU coach Matt Brady may be anticipating that game as eagerly as Bowles is.

"He's a significant player. And I don't want to pin everything on him, but he's just a really, really big dude who can really play," Brady said earlier this week. ""We're going to be a much better team when we get him.

"When Denzel's eligible, he's going to start. And he's going to be one of, if not our best player," Brady added. "He's really that talented."

The six-foot-ten-inch Bowles says he expects to give JMU a low-post presence.

"We're shooting a lot of three's, and we really can't dump it down too much. So I hope I can just help our shooters get more shots," he says. "And they can dump it down to me, and I'll get a couple of buckets to open up shots for them."

With Bowles on the floor, Brady envisions the Dukes running an offense similar to CAA rival George Mason's.

"Throw the ball to the block, then wait to see what happens, and throw the ball out," says Brady, who also called Bowles "probably the best low post passer I've been around, in my 23 years as a coach.

"We'll throw the ball to him, and then we'll play offense from the inside out," Brady says. "Denzel's going to be the focal point of our offense when he comes back."