Bowles Twins Find Gordon State College Twice As Nice

Side by side, Elavian, No. 4, and Eleik, No. 5, Bowles came to Gordon State College from Savannah, Ga., and found the school to be a great value for the opportunity to excel in academics and athletics during their time on the Barnesville campus.
Side by side, Elavian, No. 4, and Eleik, No. 5, Bowles came to Gordon State College from Savannah, Ga., and found the school to be a great value for the opportunity to excel in academics and athletics during their time on the Barnesville campus.

By Steve Argo, Gordon State College Development Officer and Director of Athletics

BARNESVILLE, Ga. – If you sit there long enough, you can pick up on some minor differences in their appearances. But if you stay long enough to have a conversation with them, there’s no doubt that Elavian and Eleik Bowles are twins. They think alike, talk alike and they don’t mind finishing each other’s sentences.

If they could have the same number on the basketball court, they would probably share that, too.

Elavian and Eleik have been members of the Gordon State College men’s basketball season for the past two seasons after coming to Barnesville in August of 2018. They are on track to graduate with their Associate of Arts degrees in General Studies in May. The twins have completed their two-year eligibility at Gordon with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and are hopeful to continue their academic and athletic careers together this coming fall at a college or university on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) or the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level.

Elavian and Eleik agreed that education is important in their family, especially since their grandmother, Dr. Ethel Bowles, was a principal for more than 30 years.

“She has been that one voice that we heard if our grades dropped and or she didn’t think we were doing our best in the classroom,” Elavian said. “That’s our dad’s mother and she has always taken an interest in our education.”

Eleik was born first, by four minutes, but Elavian won’t listen to anything about being a little brother to his twin. They are both listed at 6-2 and 180 pounds on the GSC roster, played together on the Sol C. Johnson High School team and recently finished their sophomore seasons together at GSC.

During their senior season in high school in Savannah, Elavian and Eleik played on the same basketball team as their cousins – Emondre and E’Maury – as the Atom Smashers advanced to the Class AAA state quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Greater Atlanta Christian School.

The twins were also successful running cross country and track in high school, which helped to mold a pair of well-rounded individuals who excelled academically and athletically.

Elavian and Eleik became acclimated to GSC and Barnesville with relative ease, although they both missed the home cooking and be able to hang out in Savannah with family and friends. Plus, the transition from high school to college was a new experience, especially a successful coach at the collegiate level who sets lofty goals.

“Coach (Bruce Capers) can be very tough, but he sees the potential in you,” Eleik said as his head coach sat nearby in the GSC Alumni House. “He also expects you to do your best, even when times are tough.”

Elavian agreed with his twin brother’s assessment of GSC’s sixth-year head coach, who also played high school basketball in his hometown of Savannah at A.E. Beach High School and was known as “Sugar Bear” as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.

“While it may not always seem like it, he (Coach Capers) always wants the best for you,” Elavian said. “He tells us if we do our part, we will be successful. Keep everything in perspective.”

Capers’s connection to Savannah led him to recruiting the Bowles’ twins and he hasn’t regretted it for one minute during the past two years.

“I am extremely proud of these young men,” Capers said. “Their work ethic on and off the court is second to none. I named them team captains because they led by example every day. Whatever four-year college or university signs them, they will get two young men who represent every day what a student-athlete is. In addition, I’m most proud because they are from my home town.”

The 2019-2020 season at GSC wasn’t what either student-athlete expected as the Highlanders eventually finished at 9-18 overall and 7-9 in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association. But Elavian and Eleik were quick to note that they blocked out the outside noise and focused on their team like a family, which got them through some rough stretches of the season.

“We bonded together as a team and supported each other,” Elavian said. “When we came back (after the winter break), we had less than 10 players. So we had to come together as teammates.”

That was the situation as GSC fielded a squad of eight players for a holiday trip to Tallahassee on December 28-29, which was followed by the first GCAA game of the season at South Georgia State College on January 2.

But GSC and the Bowles’ twins kept fighting, even after a 0-2 start to the GCAA part of the season in early January. The Highlanders won four of their next six games in January and then put together a three-game win streak in February to push their overall record 9-13 and 7-5 in the GCAA.

However, the regular season ended with four consecutive losses and a GCAA tournament first-round defeat at South Georgia State to close out the 2019-2020 campaign.

So while it wasn’t the best of endings of their respective athletic careers for Elavian and Eleik at GSC, their time on the Barnesville campus did provide a lot of memories.

“We wanted to go (to college) where we could hopefully play together,” Eleik said. “We had been recruited by some other schools, but we liked it here when made a trip to campus in April (2018). It just felt like the right place to be.”

Eleik played in 24 games and Elavian in 16 contests as freshmen for a GSC team that went 16-13 overall, including a 10-6 GCAA regular-season record.

This season, they played in every game with Eleik emerging as GSC’s leading scorer with a team-best 13.7 points-per-game and also led the Highlanders in assists at 2.2 per contest. He also averaged 4.2 rebounds-per-game while playing in a team-high average of 32 minutes each time GSC hit the court.

Those numbers earned Eleik a place on the All-GCAA second team and the only Highlander to receive postseason honors in 2020.

Meanwhile, Elavian averaged nearly three points and three rebounds each time GSC played and provided some valuable minutes to the team during his sophomore season. 

Now the future is less certain than it was just a few weeks ago after the COVID-19 outbreak has shut down campuses around the nation. Just this past Wednesday, Elavian and Eleik were moving their belongings out of the GSC Village where they’ve lived for the past two years.

But for now, Elavian and Eleik are still Highlanders as they finish up the spring semester through distance learning, like so many other students around the nation. And, like everyone else, it’s a wait-and-see situation to see what the future holds for these two ambassadors of Gordon State College. 

They will be missed, but not forgotten.

The Gordon State College Department of Athletics is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA). Gordon State College competes in NJCAA Division I in the sports of Women’s Soccer (Fall), Men’s Basketball (Fall/Spring), Softball (Spring) and Baseball (Spring). Gordon State College is located in Barnesville, Ga., approximately 60 miles south of Atlanta and 35 miles northwest of Macon. Gordon State College offers both two-year and four-year degree programs and believes that our Athletics program provides student-athletes with the opportunity to be successful academically, athletically and in life after their time as a Highlander.  Follow GSC Athletics at, on Facebook (@GordonStateCollege #GSCHighlandersForward), on Twitter (@GordonState) and Instagram (gordon_state).