UMass point guard Lowe in same company as LeBron, Stockton

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Staff

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LeBron James. John Stockton. Chris Lowe.

Wait, hold on.

How does Massachusetts point guard Chris Lowe possibly belong with perhaps the best talent in NBA history and one of the premier point guards ever to play the game?

Ask the man who coached LeBron James in high school, and he’ll tell you.

“In my opinion, that’s one of the best point guards in America,” Akron coach Keith Dambrot said of Lowe, after UMass defeated his team in the NIT on Saturday. “He has a lot of the same attributes that LeBron James had when I coached him in high school.

“He’s creating opportunities for everybody on that team,” Dambrot added. “He just has that knack to make winning plays – on both ends of the floor. We tried to get two guys on Lowe, and we had our hands full.”

Lowe didn’t exactly carve up the Akron defense, either. The junior floor general did have a solid performance with 17 points and five assists, but he’s certainly had better games this season.

The game he had against Saint Louis on Feb. 17 at the Mullins Center was one of those times.

Billikens coach Rick Majerus certainly took notice.

“Oh, he’s very good,” Majerus said after dropping the game to the Minutemen. “Obviously he had 13 assists and two turnovers, so the statistics speak for themselves – those are Stockton-esque statistics.”

Dambrot and Majerus were quick to heap praise upon Lowe, but they weren’t the only coaches to do so this season. But for some reason, his terrific campaign has seemingly gone unnoticed by coaches in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Lowe has been the catalyst this season for the Minutemen offensively, helping the transformation from a half-court offense to an up-tempo one go smoothly. UMass coach Travis Ford calls him the fastest point guard from end-to-end in the country, and he very well may be right. His quickness and decision-making has helped the Minutemen become one of the premier scoring teams – with their 82 points per game average ranking eighth in the nation.

Lowe’s 188 assists this season (6.1 per game) are tops in the conference, and also rank him No. 5 on the school’s all-time single-season list. Just a junior, Lowe is only behind three players in UMass history with 459 career assists. If he can duplicate this season in his senior year, he’ll be alone in first.

Despite the words from the coaches and the stellar assist numbers, Lowe was not among the 15 players honored on the three A-10 all-conference teams at the end of the regular season.

Dambrot recognized these things in the process of scouting the Minutemen, and centered his entire focus on Lowe, rather than A-10 Player of the Year Gary Forbes.

“My view of their team is probably different than anybody’s in the country,” he said. “Chris Lowe is the guy that we had to stop; not Gary Forbes or Ricky Harris. With the tape I’ve seen, that guy is one of the most winning guys in America.”

Dambrot was likely just as shocked as the Minutemen were to see Lowe miss out on the postseason awards.

“To lead the league in assists, and not make a team – the words I have to say probably can’t get into a newspaper,” Forbes said after the announcement. “To me, C-Lowe is the best point guard in this league and probably one of the best point guards in the country.”

Ford was equally perplexed.

“I have great respect out of all players that made it; absolutely,” he said “Do I think [Lowe is] one of the top 15 players in the league? Easily. No question. That’s an opinion, but that’s a fact as well. He’s got something to prove.”

Lowe’s assist totals and assist-to-turnover ratio (2-to-1) show how well he’s run the offense, but his other numbers display how solid his all-around game is, like Dambrot talked about.

The best example of this was against La Salle back on March 5. On that night, Lowe upstaged seniors Gary Forbes, Etienne Brower and Dante Milligan on Senior Night, becoming just the third player in school history to record a triple-double.

The 6-foot guard pulled down his 10th rebound in the game’s final minutes, to complete the feat and go along with his 14 points and 14 assists.

LeBron James would be proud.

Eli Rosenswaike can be reached at [email protected]

Click here to hear Eli Rosenswaike and Michael King discuss the Minutemen’s chances.