CollegeFrontier Conference


Well-traveled Jesse Owens at home with Rocky Mountain College men's basketball team

Posted at 1:26 PM, Feb 28, 2023

BILLINGS — Sometimes you must give something up to realize how much you miss it.

That’s exactly what happened to Rocky point guard Jesse Owens, who spurned the round ball out of high school for a helmet and shoulder pads with University of Montana.

He’s not around the game much anymore, save for his time as a ball boy during Rocky’s football games in the fall, but does he miss it?

“When I'm at the games, yes. Like I always tell my buddies, when we're at the event on Saturdays, with crisp weather, everybody is hyped, that's when I miss it," Owens said. "All the extra stuff, I don't miss it. I don't miss waking up at 6 a.m., going to all the film meetings. Definitely the Saturdays and when it's game time, that part I miss.

After a fall of football in Missoula, where he was the scout team offensive player of the year, he transferred to Bozeman where he picked up basketball again. Fast forward 18 months and Owens found himself back home in Billings as the starting point guard for the Battlin’ Bears. He soaked up everything he could with MSU, though.

“The dedication to the craft at that level is one thing that definitely stands out," Owens said. "Whether it's individual workouts, team workouts, workouts on your own, the nutrition, weightlifting, how serious everything is — that's probably the No. 1 thing I took from there. To see some of my former teammates from there playing pro, it really helped pave the way and gave a guideline on how things are supposed to be done."

It’s been a whirlwind for Owens the past several years, but he’s technically only a sophomore athletically with his redshirt and Covid seasons. He hasn’t decided if he’ll exercise that sixth year of eligibility, but he knows he wants to stick around the game after his playing days are done.

“The plan to stay around basketball is essentially the rest of my life. Whether that's training my little cousins, or coaching a team they're traveling with or something like that, it's my love and passion. It involves day-in, day-out activities for me. It's really my life," Owens said.

Owens had a career-high 25 in Rocky’s one-point semifinal loss to Montana Tech in the semis of the Frontier Conference tournament on Monday night. Safe to say he’s comfortable on the hardwood.