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They say, "Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye," and that holds true for Ryan Bowen.
Bowen may have left his position as the University of Iowa men's basketball team's video coordinator, but that doesn't stop the former Hawkeye from keeping a close tab on his alma mater.
Ryan Bowen is enjoying his time on the coaching staff of the Denver Nuggets, but he still keeps close tabs on the Iowa men's basketball program. Photo courtesy of UI Athletic Communications.
During Iowa's first round game against Dayton in the NIT, it was hard for Bowen not to keep a close eye on the Hawkeyes' first postseason game since 2006. Bowen, a member of the Denver Nuggets coaching staff, had a home game against the Atlanta Hawks the same night.
"I remember watching some of the Iowa game before walking out to the court and sneaking in some peeks at halftime of our game," says Bowen. "When the Iowa game ended, our media relations guy wrote the score on a piece of paper and flashed me the score while our game was still going on."
Bowen left the Iowa coaching staff in mid-December to become the video operations and player development coordinator for Denver. The Nuggets, the NBA's highest scoring team, finished the regular season strong, winning six of its last seven contests, including its final four, to earn the Western Conference's sixth seed and a first-round match-up against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Fort Madison, Iowa, native says that the skills he learned at Iowa have really come into play with the Nuggets.
"It has been fun to put those skills into practice," says Bowen. "We use the same software that Iowa uses in preparing the scouting reports to draw up plays. Being able to help out in that way, I believe, has made me more valuable."
George Karl, one of only seven NBA head coaches to amass more than 1,000 career victories, says that Bowen has done a great job for the organization.
"He is doing everything for us," says Karl. "We use him in a lot of different areas, including scouting, video, and player development. He has helped us, and we've helped him."
Second-year guard Ty Lawson, who finished the season ranked 10th in the NBA in assists, says Bowen has been a great addition to the team.
"He's one of the most important people on the team," Lawson says. "He gets us ready for the games, and makes sure we're well prepared. He's a good young coach."
Bowen has established a good relationship with the players and enjoys working out with the team.
"I work a lot with the bigs," Bowen says. "I truly enjoy getting to be on the court with them, which is something I wasn't able to do at Iowa. To be able to get out and work with the guys in practice is really what I enjoy the most."
Rookie Julyan Stone appreciates Bowen’s contributions because Bowen has been both a player and a coach in the league.
"He has helped me out a lot with my development," Stone says. "As a player, when he talks to you, you listen because he has been there. Not only does he help you grow on the basketball court but also mentally. It's easy to listen to someone who has been there before."
Bowen says the transition from Iowa to the Nuggets was tough in large part because his family is still living in Iowa City.
"Seeing them once a month has been the most difficult thing," Bowen says. "But the family will be moving to Denver toward the end of July. We're all very excited. My wife is already planning our kids' summer activities. We really enjoyed living in Iowa City, and it is difficult to move because we made great friends and reunited with others."
Bowen says he still keeps in close contact with the Hawkeye coaches and players.
"To hear and see how their season ended, especially with how well the guys played and how outstanding the fans were, was great to see," he says. "It was fantastic to read about how tremendous the Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowds were the final month of the season. It's exciting to see that. The team built up some momentum heading into next year, and I wish them all the best in the future."