COLUMBIA — Laurence Bowers, a senior forward on the Missouri men's basketball team, has excelled in this season's first nine games.
He leads the team in scoring with 16.9 points per game. He is making a team-high 57.9 percent of his 3-pointers. He has the team's second most rebounds with 62, with forward Alex Oriakhi in the lead with 75.
His performance has helped place the No. 12-ranked, one-loss Tigers at No. 3 in the nation in rebounds.
He is only 10 points away from scoring 1,000 points at Missouri.
The statistics show the veteran captain's skills and ability, but coach Frank Haith thinks there's room for improvement. He wants to see Bowers improve in an area that can't be measured by numbers.
"I still want Laurence to be more vocal," Haith said. "He's a quiet kid. … I'd love for him to really take ownership and be a little bit more forceful with his teammates."
Last season, despite a season-ending knee injury, Bowers was an enthusiastic presence on the sideline. This season, Haith wants to see the same thing on the court.
"He was very vocal last year on the sideline," Haith said with a big smile. "I say this sincerely, he helped us win games last year being on the sideline. I need that passion. I need that kind of jolt he can give us."
Bowers said supporting his teammates while playing in a game is no easy task. He said doing it from the bench was much easier because he didn't need to play and he was filled with energy. Bowers said it takes a lot more energy to communicate with his teammates when he's on the court.
It is Bowers' job to point out to the guards where the opponent is attacking from and to get his teammates in position on defense.
"I feel like as a captain of the team, I definitely have to take it up a notch as far as being vocal," Bowers said. "And that's something I have to work on."
For Bowers, improving on being the leader on the court starts in practice. He says he tries his best to give encouragement and talk whenever possible. He will also give out constructive criticism when he has to.
"As a captain and veteran of the team, you can't have any excuses not to (communicate)," Bowers said. "In practice, I got to pick it up. Nothing to it but to do it."