Former 5-star recruit Brian Bowen reportedly signed a contract with the Sydney Kings of Australia’s National Basketball League, per Jonathan Givony.
Breaking: Ex-Louisville commit Brian Bowen has signed a contract with the Sydney Kings, making him the first player signed to the NBL "Next Stars" initiative. The NBL is intent on creating an alternative pathway for pursuing one and done caliber prospects: https://t.co/1BWgZAXunP
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) August 7, 2018
Bowen’s NBL debut will be the first time he’s played organized basketball since the Jordan Brand Classic in April 2017. Bowen led all players in a group that included eight future NBA Draft lottery picks with 26 points in that game.
Bowen, the No. 13 recruit in the class of 2017, was held out of play at Louisville after the FBI’s investigation into college basketball linked Bowen’s father to a $100,000 payment from adidas. Bowen transferred to South Carolina, where he practiced but didn’t play in any games. The NCAA ruled Bowen ineligible to suit up for the Gamecocks in 2018, which led to the decision to explore professional options overseas.
Bowen won’t be the first player to attempt making the jump from Australian ball to the NBA — the Oklahoma City Thunder selected former 5-star recruit Terrance Ferguson with the 21st pick in 2017 — however, he will be the first player to sign as a part of the NBL’s “Next Stars” program. In an attempt to lure more top prospects not enamored with the idea of college ball, the program will allow eligible players to not count against teams’ cap against more than three foreign players. The NBL will also play the salaries of Next Stars players instead of teams.
NBA veteran Andrew Bogut will play with Bowen for the Kings.