April 4, 2011
By not hiring agents and maintaining their academic standing, both Bowers and English can retain their collegiate eligibility and have the option of returning to Missouri if they choose to remove their name from the draft by the May 8 deadline.
The pair becomes the first Tigers to test the NBA waters as underclassmen since DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons following the 2007-08 season. Both players returned to Mizzou the following year and produced all-league seasons and helped the club to a school record 31 wins and the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
Bowers was one of the Big 12's more dynamic forwards last season, ranking second on the team in scoring (11.6) and first in rebounding (6.1). He also blocked 62 shots (second in the league) and recorded 38 steals in 24.8 minutes per game. Bowers finished the season with eight double-figure scoring games in his last 11 contests, including 22 points, 10 boards and five steals at home vs. Kansas and 19 points and five boards at Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse. One of his more dynamic games came in front of a number of NBA representatives in the Tiger win over Baylor. The Memphis, Tenn., native scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and ripped six steals during the 77-59 win over the Bears on Feb. 23.
"I think for anyone who plays college basketball, having a chance to play in the NBA is a dream," Laurence Bowers said. "I had a chance to talk with my family and other loved ones and this is something I want to do. This rule is in place to allow guys like us to explore their options and make an informed decision."
English will also test the waters after starting 29 games each of the last two years. English scored his 1,000th career point in the Missouri win at Iowa State and scored a season high 21 points at home over NIT semifinalist Colorado. English is 10th in school history with 161 career three-pointers and his 1,063 career points ranks 36th all-time in school history.
"This is an opportunity I am looking forward to, to see where I stand as a basketball player," English said. "I have loved my experience at Missouri and I will make sure everything is in order for me to return if that's the best decision for me and my family. This rule is in place for us, the player, so I want to take advantage of it and do what I can do to become a better all-around player."
Both players have played key roles in Missouri winning a school record 77 wins the last three seasons, with three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.
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