BOYS BASKETBALL: Clarkston's Owens becomes more complete player, still a doozy of a sniper |
CLARKSTON – Not many teams have the luxury of having a sharpshooter like Nick Owens, capable of knocking down shots from just about anywhere on the court.
Historically, Clarkston has been one of those teams which seems to always has a dead-eye sniper, someone who can simply shoot the lights out, and Owens, a spunky 5-foot-10 senior, is the latest in that long line.
Emerging as one of the best shooters in the area two years ago as a sophomore, last season he filled the void of "No. 1 Rifleman " on the Wolves squad left by Nick Tatu (Trine University).
He hasn’t slowed down in the slightest this winter.
Through half the season, he's averaging over 20 points per game and connecting on more than 50 percent of his 3-point attempts.
However, it's his desire to become a fuller-evolved player and his building of a new reputation as a dogged defender that longtime Clarkston head coach Dan Fife wants to praise.
Fife remarked that while Owens has been an outstanding shooter for his team over the years, his defense has been the difference-maker in his game recently.
“He’s a very good shooter, obviously, but one of the other things were doing this season is that we’re having him guard the other team’s point guard all the time and he’s doing a real good job of that," Fife said. "In his sophomore season, he was a really good shooter, but we couldn’t get him to guard people. Then he figured it out. Now, he hardly ever comes out because of the job he does on defense. And to go from being a non-player because of his defense and to get to where he is now when he’s one of our best defensive players, especially on the ball, is just really impressive."
Owens had plenty of help growing into the Wolves' designated 3-point specialist, considering his older brother, Danny (Class of 2007, played in college at Ashland University), served in that same role while he was anchoring the Clarkston backcourt, and he got the chance to learn from Tatu (one of the program's all-time great deep-range marksmen) for a year acting as his back-up during his sophomore campaign in 2012.
He gives credit to both for his success.
“I played with Nick in my sophomore season and he was definitely a role model for me, he taught me how to do some things,” Owens said. “My brother taught me a lot and it means a ton to me to be in that role and I look forward to it every game. I’m just happy to be a part of it (Clarkston basketball).”
Committed to continue his career at Madonna University next year, unlike his brother, who played at the next level in Ohio, he'll be close to home for his college hooping.
Owens' shooting form has two trademarks: his extremely quick release and his shot's unorthadox look.
His coach doesn't care what it looks like as long as it finds it way into the bottom of the net.
“Nick's shot is his shot,” said Fife with a chuckle. “It’s ugly as can be, but he makes it in practice and you think ‘God, he shouldn’t be making that shot’ and yet, you can’t ever stop him because he makes those shots. He makes shots and he makes ugly shots, so he’s definitely got the green light with me, I don’t ever question his shooting."Tweet