Josh Lowery says making move to Lopes was “the best thing for me”

Arizona Sports News online

For the Grand Canyon men’s basketball team, losing a floor general like Kyle Speed after last season was tough. Where would they go or what would they do to find someone even remotely as gifted as Speed?

Enter Josh Lowery.

The Phoenix, Ariz. native, made his mark at Desert Vista High School, where he led them to a state championship as a junior in 2008.

Lowery moved onto Pepperdine after graduation and again, he made his mark on the program in the three years he was there. Lowery appeared in 90 games and made 58 starts.

If he was getting so many starts and playing time, you might ask Lowery, ‘Why would you ever want to leave?’

“It was just the best thing for me,” Lowery said. “I kind of already knew Coach Russ [Pennell] from AAU days, [and] I knew my younger brother [Jeff] was going here, so I thought that would be a great opportunity as far as being around my family.”

So far, it’s turned out to be a fantastic move for Lowery, coming back home to play at Grand Canyon.

Lowery currently leads the team in minutes per game [29.9], points per game [12.9], assists [57] and steals [26].

Lowery said it wasn’t a tough transition at all, moving from Pepperdine to Grand Canyon.

“It’s been a blessing,” Lowery said. “All the guys are real cool, they welcome me with open arms, so I’m just happy to be here.”

Lowery paid homage to Speed, who blazed a trail for him at the point guard spot prior to his arrival.

“Kyle Speed really made it easy for me,” Lowery said. “He really was the leader for this team last year, and I kinda just gradually stepped into the role.”

Pennell knew that the team couldn’t just put anyone out on the court to play point guard. They’d have to have someone with the proper amount of experience to run the team, which Lowery absolutely qualified himself to do by virtue of all his starts at Pepperdine.

“The thing I’ve loved is how Josh has come in and adapted to playing for Grand Canyon,” Pennell said. “Sometimes you get D-1 transfers, and they think either it won’t be quite as good a level, or they’re looking for something different, [but] Josh has come and been the consummate team player and the team leader.”

Lowery mentioned the relationship he and Pennell formed back in AAU, and now it’s come full circle where he’s playing under Pennell again at Grand Canyon.

Lowery has nothing but respect for Pennell and what he’s done for his career and in his life.

“He’s been a blessing to me, on and off the court, I love playing for him,” Lowery said. “He’s a competitor, I like his fiery spirit, it kind of carries over to us, and I think that’s part of the reason why we’re so competitive, we kind of feed off his competitive spirit.”

Forward/center Braylon Pickrel was on the receiving end of many a great Kyle Speed pass last season.

How does he think Lowery’s doing so far?

“Oh, he’s been solid, he’s a good point guard,” Pickrel said. “He takes care of the ball really well, sees the floor really well.”

Pickrel says it was a definite advantage for Lowery that he went to Pepperdine and cut his teeth there before he got to Grand Canyon.

“He wants to win,” Pickrel said. “He wants to win is what it comes down to, he really didn’t win a whole lot at Pepperdine bless his heart.”

Pickrel said he was a little concerned about who would inherit Speed’s position and how that person would do, but he has no doubt in his mind that Lowery is the one.

“Obviously he plays a little bit different game, but he does a really good job of getting everyone involved still.”