April 4, 2008
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Washington State University senior Robbie Cowgill returned to his home sate of Texas as he competed as a member of the American All-Star Team in the DiGiorno College All-Star Game presented by Brother Printers, Friday at the Alamodome as one of the activities surrounding the 2008 NCAA Men's Final Four at San Antonio.
The DiGiorno College All-Star Game, sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), was played on the Final Four floor for the first time in its long history. The game featured two teams of the nation's finest college seniors. Cowgill's American All-Stars fell to the National Team, 106-100.
"It was a lot of fun," Cowgill said after the game. "This whole weekend was a blast, getting to know the guys and getting to hang out with them and getting to play against that kind of competition. I felt pretty honored to be in that group, seeing some of the other names that were out there and knowing how good their careers were."
The American Team trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half, but rallied back to tie the game at 45 at halftime. The American Team couldn't pull ahead in the second half, but an assist by Cowgill to Wisconsin's Brian Butch for a 3-pointer tied the game at 62 points. The National Team hit key free throws down the stretch to pull out a 106-100 victory. Cowgill started the game off right for the American Team, winning the opening tip.
"It was different, we got to push it a little bit more," Cowgill said. "You have guys coming from different offenses and different defensive schemes trying to come together in a couple of days and play the same way. It was pretty different for me than playing a defense-first system and trying to get a really good shot on offense."
Cowgill's American Team was coached by former South Carolina coach Dave Odom and featured players from all over the country, including, Mike Green of Butler, Brian Butch of Wisconsin, Sundiata Gaines of Georgia, James Gist of Maryland and David Padgett of Louisville. Led by Clemson Coach Oliver Purnell, the National Team featured the player of the game, Duke's DeMarucs Nelson, along with Vanderbilt's Shan Foster and Cliff Hammonds of Clemson.
"It was cool to be down here and be wearing shorts all day," Cowgill, an Austin native, said. "My parents were able to come down, so it was neat. It was nice to be back home and have the Texas feel and get to play down here."
The NABC All-Star Game has always served as a preview for departing seniors for the National Basketball Association. Over the years, the NBA has drafted well over 400 All-Stars, including almost 200 first round picks.