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Valley’s Rowley stands tall in more ways than one

Paul Rowley

-School: Loudoun Valley
-College: William and Mary
-Sport: Basketball
-GPA: 4.51
-Points per game: 22.6
-Height: 6-foot-8
-Weight: 185 pounds
-Shoe size: 14

Paul Rowley gave basketball a try at the suggestion of his parents as a fourth grader. Eight years later, an undeniable work ethic, a deft shooting touch and his 6-foot-8 frame have put him in position to play at the NCAA Division I level.

"I just fell in love with the game," said Rowley, a senior at Loudoun Valley High School. "Pretty much from middle school on, I've been all basketball all the time."

Rowley committed in July 2013 to play basketball on scholarship at the College of William and Mary. Also an academic standout, Rowley chose the Tribe among multiple offers, including Ivy League schools Harvard, Cornell and Yale.

"I could have told you in sixth grade that I was playing Division I basketball," Rowley said. "I wanted somebody to pay for me to play basketball at school, and that is what I woke up every day trying to do."

Rowley, who plays AAU ball for the Virginia Elite, is in the midst of his fourth varsity season at Valley. A member of back-to-back state tournament teams, he has gone from a supporting role to a lead role as a senior.

"I've been blessed with such great teammates over the years. Phenomenal guys and players," Rowley relayed. "It's different for me this year where I have to do more scoring and less finding other people."

Rowley has prospered in his new role, averaging more than 22 points per game to help the Vikings post a 17-3 record with just one regular season game remaining.

Valley coach Chad Dawson notes that Rowley's dedication to honing his skills has rubbed off on his younger teammates.

"He has been a tremendously hard worker," Coach Dawson said. "He's such a versatile player -- he can play inside or out. He has just meant a huge amount to our program. He is a great role model."

Rowley is also ultra-competitive off the hardwood. He maintains a 4.51 grade point average and ranks third in Valley's senior class. He enjoys playing chess and the mental competition that goes with it.

"For a long time my mom just could not care less how my basketball went," explained Rowley, a National Merit Scholarship finalist. "My mom is a teacher, and she pretty much said if you don't make straight As, you are not going to have to worry about basketball."

While Rowley is excited to play collegiately, he is no hurry for his final prep season to conclude. He surpassed 1,000 points for his varsity career and set the school record for the most-made 3-pointers earlier this year.

Within reach of more school records, Rowley is not concerned with individual accolades. "I don't really care. I'd rather win a state championship with my boys, something to remember for the rest of my life."

Valley has endured narrow defeats in the state quarterfinals each of the last two years. Rowley is confident the Vikings can take the next step this winter.

"I'm hoping and planning on a state championship, and that's what we are working towards," he said. "I think we'd all be disappointed with anything short of that."




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