Bowie's 'Twin Towers' lead hoops squad in district race

Cade Cunningham and Malcolm Mays have combined led the Volunteers to a winning record in 4-6A

  • Bowie's Malcolm Mays (left) and Cade Cunningham (right) are keeping the Volunteers in contention for a playoff spot in District 4-6A basketball. (Photo: Russ Rendon/Arlington Voice)
    Bowie's Malcolm Mays (left) and Cade Cunningham (right) are keeping the Volunteers in contention for a playoff spot in District 4-6A basketball. (Photo: Russ Rendon/Arlington Voice)
Keven Costlow

Some basketball teams have talent and some have height.

Opponents of Bowie High School’s boys team have run into the obstacle of having to play against both.

Bowie, currently 10-9 on the season, has a formidable front line led by 6-7 sophomore Cade Cunningham and 6-6 junior Malcolm Mays. Coach Allen Gratts says that both players make contributions toward helping the team to win.

“The great thing about Cade is that whenever you need him to make a basket, he’ll find a way to get one,” Gratts said. “His length and his ability to beat the press are great, and he’s a big target to throw the ball to.

“Malcolm can score for us and passes the ball well, and we expect him to improve more as the season goes on.”

Cunningham made a name for himself last year, earning first team all-district honors and Newcomer of the Year as a freshman.

He averaged 16 points a game, all while learning how to play varsity basketball as he went along.

“At first, it was tough,” he said. “It was much more physical than I was used to, and the speed of the game was faster than I thought.”

Knowing he was going to attract a lot of attention, Cunningham chose to work on other facets of his game to help the team.

He says he likes getting other players involved in the game.

“It keeps the defense off of me if someone else is open,” he said.

Cunningham has also proved that he can score regardless of who’s guarding him. He has already posted a 31-point game against Lamar, and also tallied 26 against Juan Seguin.

“There are so many things he can do this year than he couldn’t do last year,” Gratts said. “His athleticism has improved. He has a brother that is 6-10.”

Cunningham, who is already drawing interest from several colleges, said he hopes to be as tall as his brother, but doesn’t expect to.

A multi-sport standout, Mays spent most of the basketball pre-season quarterbacking the Bowie football team. Gratts said that his natural athleticism helped him when he joined the team, but he had to work on his conditioning.

“A football quarterback doesn’t necessarily do a lot of running and moving, so we had to get him in game shape,” Gratts explained. “The expectations for him are high.”

Mays admitted that “he had work to do when he joined the team,” but already had the other parts of his game in place.

“At first, it was tough, getting back into conditioning,” he said. “There was a lot more running than I was used to, but I was still working on my shooting. So that part was OK.”

With so much talent on the Bowie team, Mays doesn’t have to score a lot of points, but he contributed 11 points in the Volunteers’ district win over North Crowley, and has also posted nine against Seguin and seven in last Tuesday’s 70-60 win over Arlington High.

Both players have high expectations for how far the team can go this year. And since Region I is always tough at playoff-time, they know there is still work to be done.

“If we can get everyone to buy in and focus on the main goal, there’s not many teams that can stop us,” Cunningham said. “We want to win State this year, but we have to make sure everyone’s on the same page.”