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Elite recruit Brian Bowen to skip college, play season in Australia

2020 NBA Draft Combine

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 17: Brian Bowen #16 participates in drills during Day One of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest MultiSport Complex on May 17, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Back a couple of years ago, Brian Bowen was a top 20 recruit who had offers from a host of the elite college basketball programs — Michigan State, Arizona, and UCLA, just to name a few — but had settled on Louisville. That is, until his name came up in the FBI’s college hoops bribery scandal, where his family allegedly received $100,000 from Adidas for him to sign with the Cardinals. He never played there, transferred to South Carolina to workout there, entered the 2018 NBA Draft but then pulled out after getting feedback at the NBA Draft Combine. The NCAA ruled him ineligible to play next season in college.

Now he’s going to play next season in Australia. Jonathan Givony of ESPN broke the story.

The Sydney Kings is Andrew Bogut’s team. Bowen is a 6'7" wing who is athletic and can shoot the three, which has NBA teams watching him.

Australia’s league has made an effort to attract one-and-done players, calling it the “The Next Stars” effort, making the pitch of getting paid and playing professionally while developing faster than they would in college. This is their first player.

There is a history of success developing players in Australia. For example, James Ennis was drafted in the second round out of Long Beach State and chose to play in the NBL rather than the G-League for a season, has come back and become a solid role player now with the Houston Rockets.

This NBL effort may be short-lived, the NBA is expected to allow players to go straight from high school to the NBA draft probably by 2022 (maybe a season earlier).