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Brian Bowen speaks publicly about Louisville issues

2017 McDonald's All American Game

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 29: Brian “Tugs” Bowen II #20 of the boys west team is defended by Lonnie Walker IV #14 of the boys east team during the 2017 McDonalds’s All American Game on March 29, 2017 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

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The player who has found himself at the center of the federal government’s probe into corruption in college basketball says he has no idea how he got there.

Brian Bowen, whose family is alleged to have received $100,000 in an attempt by adidas and Louisville to get him to commit to the school, said in an interview that he had no knowledge of the alleged payment.

“I was shocked,” Bowen told ESPN. “I didn’t believe it at all. ... They have to be lying. There’s no way I’m involved in it.

“I don’t know anything about it.”

Bowen said he has not spoken about the situation with his father, who is alleged to have received the money, that federal documents say was provided by adidas.

“I prefer not to talk about it, and he respects that,” Bowen said. “We just don’t talk about the situation at all.”

Even though Bowen said he hasn’t discussed it with his father, he is skeptical that his father received money.

“I really didn’t believe it. I still don’t believe it,” he said. “All these allegations, so many stories. My mind has been everywhere. This has been rough.”

Bowen also said that no one pushed him to ultimately commit and sign with Louisville, which fired Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich as part of the fallout from the federal investigation.

“No one pressured me to go to Louisville or any other school,” Bowen said. “I made the ultimate decision.”

Bowen was suspended by Louisville, which has not sought reinstatement from the NCAA. Still, Bowen, a top-25 recruit inthe 2017 class, hopes to play college basketball.

“My biggest thing is that I want to play college basketball,” Bowen said. “There are other routes I can go. I could go play in Spain or Australia or in Lithuania with the Ball brothers. But my dream was to play college basketball.

“I feel like I’m a victim because of greedy adults.”