Coach Blake Hall is absolutely certain Jamel McGowan was headed for one of the best seasons a Goose Creek High School guard has had since he’s been there.
Instead, McGowan was relegated to more of an assistant coach role and supporter from the bench. The senior had to sit out the entire 2019-20 campaign with a torn meniscus and torn anterior cruciate ligament while the Gators won the Region 7-AAAAA championship and advanced to the third round of the Class 5A playoffs.
McGowan's presence might have put the Gators over the top in the Lower State and into the state championship.
“He is the most well-rounded and gifted guard I’ve had,” Hall said. “He’s a 6-2 combo guard who can play with or without the ball. He was going to have a breakout senior year. He could have been a 15- to 20-point per game scorer. He can score at all three levels and can slash to the hoop. He can defend, too.”
The lost season didn't cost McGowan a college shot, though. McGowan will continue his playing career at Limestone College, recently issuing a verbal commitment to the Saints. Limestone is a NCAA Div. II school located in Gaffney that competes in Conference Carolinas.
“I truly believe Jamel is a Div. I prospect,” Hall said. “Unfortunately, his best days as a high school player were kind of cut short.”
As a junior, McGowan was the Gators’ second leading scorer and earned all-region honors. He was tabbed one of the state’s top senior players in Class 5A but was injured in late June at Wofford’s team camp and rehabbed through the season.
“He’s getting there,” Hall said. “He’s doing well playing pickup with our guys when I’ve seen him. He’s not quite there. For most athletes the biggest hurdle is the mental side of it. I would think by next basketball season, he would be in the mix to play and make a significant impact at Limestone if he stays positive and hungry and doesn’t get complacent. If he pushes the limits, by his sophomore year I think he can be an all-conference guard.”