OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Men's basketball coach Kevin Hamilton is expecting big things from new arrival Kyonis Owens. That includes electric dunks.
Owens, whose nickname is K.O., joins NYIT after playing one season at Coastal Bend College in Beeville, Texas, where he averaged 5.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while starting 18 of the team's 25 games. Additionally, Owens shot 61.4 percent from the field.
The 6-foot-8 forward takes shots primarily around the rim — layups and dunks.
"His shot-blocking ability and length will be huge pluses for NYIT," Hamilton said. "Kyonis is a high riser who can score with dynamic dunks. Look for him to help bolster our defense in protecting the paint."
Owens still fondly remembers his first-ever dunk. It came in practice as a freshman at Crosby High School near Houston. The drill stopped. Players celebrated and his coach gave him a chest bump.
"Everybody in the gym looked at me like, 'What just happened?'" Owens said.
As Owens has matured, the Texas native added other aspects to his game. It is his physicality and work ethic in which he takes the most pride.
"I'm not a finesse guy. I just put my head down and grind hard," Owens said. "That's rebounds, blocking shots, defense and communicating. That's everything."
One of the main reasons Owens chose NYIT was Hamilton, a former star at Iona and fourth-round selection by the Boston Celtics in the 1980 NBA Draft.
"When he talks, you just want to listen," Owens said.
As a way to bring the team closer together from their first day on campus, Owens will room with fellow incoming men's basketball student-athlete Opong Bramble, a product of The Canterbury School in Connecticut.
"The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is merging with the team," Owens said. "We don't need any individuals on the team. We need to be one. That's going to be the biggest thing: becoming one."