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Brian Bowen turns pro after NCAA rules him ineligible for next season

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 college basketball career of former McDonald’s All-American Brian Bowen is officially over before it ever began as the South Carolina guard will stay in the 2018 NBA Draft.

According to an official release from the Gamecocks, the NCAA informed the school that Bowen would be ineligible for at least the 2018-19 season based on the alleged benefits the Bowen family received from Louisville. Since Bowen hadn’t served a transfer year in residence at South Carolina, he was also potentially facing additional time that he would have to be out as well.

Bowen and his family were tied to the FBI’s investigation into college basketball this fall as an Adidas executive is alleged to have been part of a scheme to deliver $100,000 to Bowen’s family, according to court documents. Eventually cleared by the FBI on Nov. 2, Bowen was not allowed to play at Louisville.

After leaving Louisville amidst the investigation and enrolling at South Carolina in January, Bowen sat on the bench in the hopes of eventually being able to play for the Gamecocks. But the NCAA never gave the promising 6-foot-6 guard the chance to even begin his college basketball career.

“I am completely devastated by the NCAA’s ruling,” Bowen said in the South Carolina release. “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.”

This is a really tough break for Bowen, as he was likely never directly at fault for the stuff going on behind the scenes during his recruitment. While the evidence provided in the FBI investigation made it almost impossible for Bowen to be immediately eligible, he would have potentially missed over two years worth of time because of this situation.

For a former top-25 national recruit with a promising future, turning pro is probably the best course of action for Bowen at this point. It’s disappointing that we’ll never see Bowen play college basketball, but it’s likely for the best that he moves on and continues his career away from these investigations.