Six months ago, Brian Bowen was the leading player for the No. 1 high school team in the nation.
Now, Bowen is one of the leading figures in a huge college basketball scandal. On Tuesday, 10 people, including Adidas executives and assistant coaches from Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and Southern California, are facing federal bribery, fraud and other corruption charges related to paying the recruits’ families to attend certain colleges.
Bowen, a 6-8 forward, averaged 21.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists to lead La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) to the season-ending No. 1 spot in the Super 25 boys basketball rankings. He played a key role in lifting the Lakers to a win in the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Nationals.
If you read between the lines of the FBI’s 29-page criminal complaint that was released Tuesday, an Adidas executive paid Bowen’s family $100,000 to play at Louisville, an Adidas-sponsored school.
Bowen announced his decision to attend Louisville on June 3 via Twitter, the latest announcement of any of the elite players in the 2017 class.
Calls to Bowen, La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) coach Patrick Holmes and DePaul assistant Shane Heirman, who was the Lakers’ coach last season, were not returned. Greg McMath, who coached Bowen for two seasons at Arthur Hill (Saginaw, Mich.), said he was hoping to talk with his former player.
“Very shocked, very sad for that kid,” McMath said. “He is a tremendous kid, a tremendous person. You hear something like that and it’s blowing my mind. I’ve been around the kid for probably the fifth or sixth grade. … They are such a good family, well respected in Saginaw. They always did a great job financially of taking care of Tugs. It’s a tough time right now because I’m so close to the kid. You’re still trying to get over the shock.”
Shocked was the word used by many of those in high school sports familiar with the participants in the scandal.
Potters House Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.) basketball coach Steve McLaughlin has known Brad Augustine for nearly a decade, before Augustine became the director of the 1FamilyHoops AAU program in Florida. On Tuesday, Augustine was one of the principals mentioned in the complaint as having facilitated payments to prospects to direct them to a particular Adidas school and particular agents and financial planners.
“I was definitely shocked by it,” McLaughlin said. “I haven’t really read about (the complaint) because I know a lot of those guys. I don’t want to know what transpired. They may have done something they shouldn’t have done, but I don’t want to pass judgment. I’ve known Brad for years even before the whole 1FamilyHoops thing. We have a relationship outside of basketball.”