It didn’t take long for Jackie Williams to remember what Taurus Bowman was like as a player.
As her middle school basketball coach at William J. Clark, Williams saw that Bowman had the ambition to do great things on the basketball court.
“She was very motivated,” Williams recalled of Bowman as a seventh-grader. “She was always willing to learn and always willing to accept what I had to say and what she wanted to do to improve herself. She was well-mannered and she always wanted to get better. “
Bowman’s ambition grew as she did over the years. Now, her passion for the game and her ability to make plays as a guard has landed her an opportunity to move on to the next level. On Friday, Bowman signed to play for Barber Scotia in Concord, N.C.
“I think this is really special,” Bowman said. “I’m the first generation in my family to go to college and I want to be able to succeed and do things that my parents and those in that generation weren’t able to do. So, I just want to have a lot of success.”
Early on, Bowman’s parents merely thought that having her on the basketball team might be something to do only to later discover that young Taurus had a knack for the game.
“I always felt like she would be athletic as my daughter and I always encouraged her as a father,” Taurus S. Bowman said. “I didn’t want to push her if that’s not what she wanted to do, but I saw her playing ball at Clark and she was known for her 3-point shot. When she hit a 3-point shot, the crowd would go crazy. As a parent, that makes you proud watching her.”
Bowman would move on from the middle school program to play one year of junior varsity basketball at Orangeburg-Wilkinson before joining the varsity team during her sophomore year. Bowman would see glimpses of action in a number of situations, but those spots were few and far between. In the middle of her junior season, Bowman transferred from O-W to Orangeburg Prep, where she would play for Jan Stoudenmire and the Lady Indians.
“The biggest adjustment, I’d say, was probably the level of work we had to put in,” Bowman said about playing at OPS. “Here, you have to put in the work. There, it’s harder than it was over here because (Coach Josh Staley) came from a place where he wanted us to win. All he did was discipline, discipline, discipline. Coach Jan wanted us to have fun and play how we play.”
Joining the Lady Indians in the middle of their season, Bowman thought that she would disrupt the chemistry that the team built. However, she proved to be more of a benefit than a hindrance for Stoudenmire’s club.
“She’s helped our team tremendously,” Stoudenmire said. “She’s been a big asset to Orangeburg Prep. I knew that, when she came in, we could run a little different system around her even though she fit right into our system because she was so quick. She knew the players around her. Just this year with Liz (Rheney) and Julia (Bonnette), she made them so much better by taking a lot of pressure of the ball handling off of them. She had some great games here this year.”
Bowman also received interest from Coastal Carolina, Columbia College and Bernard University, but the Sabres were able to provide her with an atmosphere that the other schools could not.
“It’s a really small school and it seems like a tight-knit community where everybody can get to know everybody. I have a really close bond with the coach and that’s really important to me for the team to have a really close bond with the coach and for the coach to appreciate everything that the team does.”
Bowman’s family and coaches have made it a point to stress that playing college basketball is no longer an extracurricular activity. It’s more like a job and the challenge of balancing academics and athletics will be a little bit tougher. Still, nothing measures up to the milestone that Taurus has achieved and it’s a moment that she and her family will cherish forever.
“It means moving on in life and taking on the world,” Tracey Bowman said. “She’s about to go and get what she needs to take on the world academically and she has the skill to go along with that. We never went to college. So this is (really) good. She’s the first in the family to go to college and I know it doesn’t happen every day that you get recruited to play basketball. You could play basketball all your life and never get recruited. So, this just means a lot.”