McDowell reflects on professional basketball career

3 color

Clay Sidenbender | Echo

People around Upland know Quinn McDowell as the first-year men’s basketball assistant coach. On the bench, he sits closest to the players, towering over the other coaches. Prior to Taylor, he served as a Virginia Wesleyan University assistant coach for two years.

Some people may be surprised to learn about his professional basketball playing career.

“After my career in college at William & Mary, I felt like God continued to give me a passion to play basketball,” McDowell said. “And an opportunity based on . . . some of the career I had throughout the four years at William & Mary.”

In January 2013, he signed with the Willetton Tigers in Perth, Australia. He played all 26 games of the 2013 States Basketball League (SBL) season. He finished with the highest three-point percentage and made the 2013 Men’s SBL All-Star team.

On Nov. 1, 2013, he got drafted by the Springfield Armor of the NBA G League. He played 22 games of the 2013–14 season before they placed him on waivers. Despite his short stint, he played with NBA players Willie Reed and Darius Johnson-Odom.

“The NBA G League probably has – more now than (when) I ever played several years ago – a lot of individual talent,” McDowell said. “(There are) a lot of great players that had really good college careers. It’s probably more of a business in some ways in that everyone is trying to move up.”

He re-signed with the Tigers just in time to play during the 2014 SBL season. In his second season, McDowell averaged 30 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Following his second season with the Tigers, McDowell signed with a Spanish League team. He played 25 of Chocolates Trapa Palencia’s 31 total games, averaging 11.6 points per game.

“We lived in a small town which was a true cultural experience,” McDowell said. “My wife taught English to natives . . . we walked most places. We had to learn how to drive a stick shift.”

He and his wife, Lindsey, took weekend trips to explore different cities and experience the Spanish culture. Since their marriage in 2012, she plays a consistent role in his inconsistent life.

In Spain, they met a group of elder missionaries who befriended a lot of professionals.

“Back in the day before all of the technology of FaceTime and iPhones, they’d spend like thousands and thousands of dollars on phone calls,” he said. “They were so lonely and whatever and you don’t have that kind of communication back home.”

When his year-long contract finished, the McDowell’s moved to Latvia in Eastern Europe. He played for VEF Riga during the 2015–16 season.

Lindsey became pregnant and they planned to have the child in Latvia.

“To kind of see Eastern Europe from that perspective and some of the influences of . . . various occupations from the Soviet Union and from Germany over the years . . . it was really interesting,” he said.

The Latvia Basketball League posed some new challenges for him. He received inconsistent playing time and the competition was better.

His basketball career ended by a knee injury during a game in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

“At the end of the game, I came down on a fast break and just heard my knee pop,” McDowell said. “And, I knew right away that it was bad.”

While being helped up, his career flashed before his eyes. He said he remembered how God remained with Joseph through the hardships he suffered. He realized God would be with him through his pain too.

Today, McDowell, 29, and Lindsey live in Upland with their two boys, Titus and Ezra. He advises several of his Taylor players who want to play professionally.

“In terms of wanting to be a pro, probably the best advice I ever got was . . .  you have to behave like a professional before you’re afforded the opportunity to be a professional,” he said.

He and Lindsey look back fondly on their international travels. In spite of career uncertainty and rapid change, they allowed God to guide their path.