published Monday, March 5th, 2012

Cleveland junior D.J. Bowles picks Central Florida

Fresh off of a weekend spent in Orlando, Cleveland junior D.J. Bowles committed to play basketball at the University of Central Florida starting in the 2013-2014 season.

Bowles, a 6-foot point guard, averaged 17.9 points, four rebounds and 3.1 assists for the Blue Raiders this season, helping the team advance to the region quarterfinals. He will become the first Cleveland basketball player since Charles Little in 2005 to sign with a NCAA Division I school. Little went to the University of Dayton, helping them to the Sweet 16 his senior season.

He's the first commit of what could be a strong class of rising seniors in the area, with as many as five or six players (boys and girls) possibly signing basketball scholarships with Division I schools in the next 12 months.

The Knights will start playing in the Big East Conference -- regarded as one of the three best basketball conferences in America -- Bowles' freshman season at UCF. He said that played a factor in his decision.

"The coaches said that they needed a point guard that could go in and go through the battles," he said. "The fact that it's a big basketball conference was a big part of my decision."

The school offered Bowles after his sophomore season. After flirting with schools such as Murray State, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Middle Tennessee State and the University of Tennessee, he decided that he knew where he wanted to go, and wasted no time making the decision.

"It's a perfect situation," he said. "The campus is amazing; I liked the coaches, and I think that I will fit in pretty well there. Now that I've made that decision, I can focus on my grades, and concentrate on getting better and working on what coaches want me to work on during the AAU season."

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