© TC MEDIA
A big man with a soft touch is helping to lead the charge this season for the Holland College Hurricanes basketball team.
Rookie Chase Bowden is sixth in the country in scoring at more than 23 points a game for the 5-1 Hurricanes.
"I got my soft hands from my dad," Bowden said of his father Derwin. "He always told me, 'if you touch it, you can catch it.'"
And once the big man catches, he knows what to do.
"He's the best big man I've ever played with, definitely the best big man in Canada," said point guard Alvin Parker.
He estimated throwing 15 to 20 passes he was surprised Bowden hauled in so far this season.
Bowden, a 22-year-old from New Glasgow, started playing hoops in Grade 6. He attended St. F.X. basketball camps and played a lot of ball with his cousins. He ended up making the provincial under-17 team and said that helped his progression.
"I was always taller than everyone but I could always handle the ball, so I played the wing quite a bit, but most of the time in the post," he said.
After graduating from North Nova Education Centre, he attended community college in nearby Truro and then worked while playing in the league back home, which he credits for helping make the transition to the college game easier.
"It's always good to be on the floor," he said.
"The boys back home are physical, so they'll bump you around a little bit and keep you in shape."
He enrolled this year in the computer information system and has been lighting up the teams on a consistent basis while banging around with some guys who are upwards of four inches taller and 100 pounds heavier.
"I've been able to hold my own so far," Bowden said modestly. "I just try to use my length and my quickness and ball handling to try to get around them."
Coach George Morrison said Bowden's presence has made Parker, a good penetrator who can dish the ball, a better player.
"Last year, we didn't have a lot of guys who could catch a lot of his passes," he said. "Chase catches those passes like nothing."
The coach added the big man turns in "workman-like performances" everyday he steps on the court.
"He does it without talking," Parker added. "For as many points as he's scoring, he's the ultimate team player."
He said it has made the team much harder to defend with Parker penetrating and finding Bowden for easy buckets. When the defence collapses on the big man the outside shooters have clean looks.
Bowden said it's great being back on the hardwood and is pleased he made the decision to come to Charlottetown.
"It's absolutely amazing. I am having the time of my life right now," he said.