SportsTalkSC and South Carolina Radio Network can report former Louisville transfer forward Brian Bowen will elect to stay in the NBA Draft and will not play for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN first reported the news and a source with knowledge of the situation independently confirmed with SportsTalk knowledge of Bowen’s intentions.
The same source said the NCAA informed Bowen he would have likely been ineligible for the entire 2018-19 season. South Carolina Athletics later confirmed this information, saying he would have to miss the upcoming season “at minimum” based on the information at hand.
Tuesday, USC Athletic Director Ray Tanner told SportsTalk the school had reason to believe the NCAA would provide them some information that would help Bowen make his decision.
Bowen had until 11:59 PM Wednesday to withdraw from the draft and return to USC, but the continued lack of information concerning his NCAA eligibility forced his hand in the direction of turning pro.
In a statement provided by USC Athletics, Bowen said:
“I am completely devastated by the NCAA’s ruling. All I ever wanted to do was continue my education and play college basketball, however, after learning of the ruling, and discussing it with my family and attorney, I’ve decided to pursue my professional career. I’m grateful to the University of South Carolina and Frank Martin for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be a Gamecock.”
South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin said in an adjoining statement:
“I enjoyed having Brian as part of our program and he will always be part of our family. He is an outstanding person, who took his academic studies seriously and wants to earn his college degree. Brian dreamt of playing college basketball and selflessly contributed to helping his team get better each day while he was here. Participating in college basketball gives young people a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow while enjoying the surroundings being part of a University. I wish Brian had this opportunity. We will continue to support Brian and do everything we can to help him reach his goals. Brian is a proud Gamecock and will be one forever. I hope nothing but the best for him in the future.”
Documents released in September by the FBI and the Department of Justice allege Merl Code and James Gatto, both connected with Adidas, and sports agent Christian Dawkins for collaborating on a scheme to pay the Bowen family $100,000 in exchange for Brian Bowen playing at Louisville, an Adidas-sponsored school. According to an indictment of the three co-conspirators, Brian Bowen’s father, Brian Sr., received one payment of $19,500 in exchange for his son’s arrival at Louisville.
Upon knowledge of the indictment, Louisville suspended Bowen, and he never suited up for the Cardinals.
South Carolina announced the transfer of Bowen to the Gamecocks on January 10th, with knowledge that a road to get him to play at USC would be a bumpy one. Gamecocks Head Coach Frank Martin defended the acquisition of Bowen in his first public comments on the issue, saying, ““He just wants to be part of a team, wants to be in college, he wants people who are going to believe in him and fight for him. We signed up for that.”
Bowen projects as either a late-2nd Round pick or an undrafted free agent with prospects on playing in the NBA G-League or overseas.
His departure leaves the Gamecocks with three open scholarship roster spots for the upcoming season.
This story will be updated as new information becomes available…