Teaira McCowan has been a great player for the Mississippi State Bulldogs as a forever improving player every year since joining the team in 2015. The rising senior plays hard every night, having averaged 18.2 points per game and 13.9 rebounds per game last season.
A 6-foot-7 dynamo, her height is not the most noticeable attribute that will catch your eye on a basketball court.
McCowan is a force on the hardwood. One who was a completely raw player when first stepping on the floor in Starkville as a freshman. Since then, she has blossomed into one of the top college basketball players in the country.
Speaking to David Brandt of the Associated Press, Aassociate head coach Johnnie Harris noticed how raw McCowan was, stating, “She was extremely raw. But she had all the tools.”
Its been two years since the product from Brenham, Texas joined the Lady Bulldogs. It’s been one great career for the player, with Mississippi State benefiting greatly from her growth. Her development highlighted by her previous season, with McCowan named to three All-American teams (WBCA, ESPNW, and the Associated Press), as well as earning the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC honors.
That’s a strong resume.
With McCowan at center, along with Victoria Vivians and Morgan William, the Mississippi State Bulldogs reached its second straight Final Four appearance and second straight National Championship appearance. McCowan is coming back, with the addition of Anriel Howard and Jazzmun Holmes returning the rotation, Mississippi State is looking to earn a national championship this season.
There’s sincere reason to believe the Bulldogs can achieve such a lofty goal.
Teaira McCowan and Mississippi State have seen success and the improvements of both the player and the program coinciding with each other. The Bulldogs will go as she goes.
McCowan has seen improvements in her stats and talent. Her freshman year, she averaged 6.6 points and 5.6 rebounds coming off the bench while Mississippi State reached the Sweet 16. As a sophomore, McCowan averaged 8.7 points and 7.1 rebounds. At the same time, the Bulldogs reached the national championship game.
There’s reasonable expectations, as she’s proven season after season, that she’ll make yet another giant leap in both talent and production. A scary conclusion to consider, as she’s coming off a monster season.
McCowan had to transition from growing up in Brenham, TX. Brenham is a small town with a population of 16,989 (as of 2016) and McCowan earned Parade All-American honors as a senior at Brenham High School. She received several accolades while playing in high school for Brenham. It being a smaller town, she was well known — which isn’t inherently a good thing.
Making that transition from Brenham to Mississippi State was a bit difficult.
In Brenham, she had three different head coaches in four years while playing for the Cubs. The only constant on the staff she had was assistant coach Donna Williams — with Williams inevitably becoming entrusted with the recruitment of McCowan.
One thing McCowan was learning to do was trust people at the time. Speaking to Brody Miller of The Clarion Ledger, Coach Williams said, “Teaira doesn’t always trust everyone, especially after dealing with everything with her height. She doesn’t trust you because she doesn’t always know if you’re out for her good.”
McCowan had to begin the transition from Brenham to Starkville, and she noted the difficult transition speaking to David Brandt. She noted, “There were plenty of days I was crying in the shower. I would say to myself ‘I can’t do it. I’m coming home.’”
McCown was able to realize, with the help of head coach Vic Schaefer and Harris, that she has people on campus who “love her” and want to see her be successful. Now she has the confidence and, in turn, is thriving while at Mississippi State. She plans on finishing her degree while at Starkville.
The talk of playing in the WNBA is real. Her stock has become a most-buy after this last season. It’s yet another element of the upcoming season to follow when watching her and the Bulldogs.
Regardless, McCowan has become a role model for kids back in Brenham and is one of the most popular figures in Starkville. It took some time, but it appears Teaira McCowan has grown comfortable with herself and there’s no telling where her success will take her next.
She has goals, and with her confidence, McCowan will have no problem reaching them and then a little bit more.
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