Louisville appears to be on the brink of pulling off a recruiting stunner, as McDonald’s All-American Brian Bowen enrolled Thursday at U of L.
U of L’s registrar’s office, through a school spokesman, said Bowen’s status changed from application to matriculation and that he enrolled in classes for the summer term.
Bowen, a consensus five-star Class of 2017 prospect, still has to sign financial aid paperwork before he is officially a member of the 2017-18 Louisville team.
He posted on his Instagram and Twitter accounts Thursday afternoon that he will announce his college decision at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The growing consensus among recruiting analysts is that Bowen will pick Louisville, which emerged late in his recruitment.
The 6-foot-7 forward has had a long list of suitors pursuing him. Arizona, Creighton, DePaul, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Oregon, Texas and UCLA, among others, have all chased his commitment at some point over the past few years.
Louisville offered Bowen a scholarship in 2014 and monitored him as a high school sophomore during the 2015 AAU circuit, but both sides moved in different directions over the past two years.
Bowen came back on Louisville’s radar in recent days, when a member of his camp reached out to U of L’s coaching staff. He reportedly visited Louisville with his parents earlier this week, taking in a Cards practice and walking around Churchill Downs.
It was the latest twist in Bowen’s long and winding recruitment, one of the lengthier processes in the 2017 class. Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon and Texas were all considered favorites to sign Bowen at different times during the past year.
Arizona returned guards Rawle Alkins and Allonzo Trier and added five-star Emmanuel Akot and four-star Brandon Randolph in its recruiting class.
Michigan State is similarly stacked on the perimeter, with Miles Bridges opting to return to school and join Josh Langford in one of the best wing pairings in college hoops.
And Texas, which has had one of the best offseasons in the country, got Andrew Jones back after he entered his name in the NBA draft pool.
Though U of L coach Rick Pitino said he and his staff didn’t plan to add any other players to their 2017-18 roster, Bowen emerged as a possibility after the coach’s comments.
Bowen, a Michigan native who played for La Lumiere School in La Porte, Indiana, would give U of L another scoring wing. He could share playing time with primary wings junior Deng Adel and sophomore V.J. King, plus fellow freshman Jordan Nwora and redshirt sophomore Dwayne Sutton.
Bowen was the Jordan Brand Classic’s co-most valuable player, scoring 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range. He scored three points in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Louisville’s original quartet of signees – Nwora, Darius Perry, Lance Thomas and Malik Williams – ranked 10th in ESPN’s class ratings, a figure that would likely improve with the addition of Bowen.
Bowen took official visits to Arizona, Creighton, Michigan State, NC State and Texas in the fall. DePaul landed on his radar after his school coach, Shane Heirman, joined coach Dave Leitao’s staff. The Blue Demons were also reportedly courting Bowen’s AAU coach, Tim Anderson, for a job.
Bowen took unofficial visits to DePaul in March and Oregon in May.