Cinmeon Bowers arrived at Auburn in the fall of 2014 as a heralded JUCO recruit. He was the top-ranked JUCO player in the nation, and he chose to come to Auburn to play for Bruce Pearl. Bowers was Pearl's first commitment as Auburn head coach, months before his show-cause had ended and he was even able to contact recruits. There was a lot of excitement around him when he signed.
From the beginning, it was obvious that he had talent. Bowers had a double-double in the stat line for almost every single non-conference game of the 2014-15 season. Things weren't quite as rosy during the SEC schedule, but he still had more than his share of double-doubles, even when fans thought he had a bad game just from watching on TV or in the stands. His career stats show an average of 11.3 points/game and 9.6 rebounds per game. That's pretty danged good.
The good came with the bad, though. The tendency to attempt 3 point shots he shouldn't have. Trying to go coast-to-coast too often. Things of that nature. Bowers struggled at the free throw line, made plenty of questionable passes, and in 2015-16 seemed, at times, completely incapable of making a simple layup. His career field goal percentage in was .396%, so imagine how many more points he could have scored if he made some of those layups.
He was so maddeningly frustrating at times that you hated him. Then, he'd go and do something like this:
Bowers at his best. With no one else around him. https://t.co/3Y5gk6dNaT— Walt (@AUTigerGSUEagle) March 10, 2016
This was beautiful. https://t.co/Ge3N2Vmfhh— Walt (@AUTigerGSUEagle) February 18, 2016
And we would love him all over again.
Last week we published a list of superlatives for the 2015-16 season. In those, Tuco chose Bowers as his team MVP, saying that
at the end of the day, I think you have to give it to Cinmeon Bowers. Bowers plays with the energy, focus, and chaos of a drunk Labrador puppy. He couldn't hit shots from point blank range, he was constantly lobbing threes that he knew wouldn't fall, and leading breaks he knew wouldn't work but you know what? He almost averaged a double-double. Bruce benched him and he did what it took to come back. We lost our point guard and he stepped in enthusiastically. So he's my MMVP. Most Maddening Valuable Player.
That's still about as good of a description of Bowers as you can get. One of our commenters, OhIndeedMaybe?, had another good description of Bowers:
Bowers had his issues he came to play with passion and heart almost every game on a not so good team and helped give us some nice memories at times anyway and he never quit the team when he could have.
That's what I think Cinmeon's legacy with Auburn will ultimately be. We'll remember frustrations, but we'll also remember a player that came hard to play most every night. He had his moments where he appeared to loaf, but for the most part you never doubted his intensity and his desire to do what it took to win. He took on a position, Point Guard, late in the 2015-16 season that he had no business playing, and we managed to win two more games with him, there.
Frustrating? Yes. But in the end, I think I, and most Auburn fans, will remember him fondly for those highlights and the fact that without him, this team likely does not win near the number of games that they did.
War Eagle, Cinmeon. You're an Auburn Man, now, and you always will be one. Good luck in the future, and I'll miss that big 6'7 frame lumbering down the court, even if I was screaming "no, no, no, pass the ball!" while you were doing it.