Brian Bowen has too much time on his hands and no time to lose.
The five-star recruit whose arrival at the University of Louisville hastened Rick Pitino’s exit remains suspended from team activities, but he still needs to stay sharp. He needs to be ready in case he is A) Reinstated or B) Abandons college basketball for a paying gig.
He needs someone in his ear and on his back. To that end, Bowen has hired former Kentucky basketball star Derek Anderson to push him until he is allowed to be part of a team.
“One of the things I’ve seen in guys in these eligibility holding patterns is they’re not able to practice and they’re not getting any coaching,” attorney Jason Setchen said Monday. “No kid is running suicides (on his own). No kid is doing the stuff he doesn’t want to do.
“Brian needs to be working with someone who can kick him in the butt.”
Four weeks since the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York rattled U of L with revelations of an alleged bribery scheme involving Adidas executives, Cardinal coaches, assorted intermediaries and Bowen’s father, the fallout already includes the firing of Pitino, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich and assistant coach Jordan Fair. Another U of L assistant coach, Kenny Johnson, has been placed on administrative leave.
Bowen, meanwhile, is stuck in limbo. Though still a full-time student at Louisville, the former McDonald’s All-American has been removed from the school’s basketball roster pending developments that are hard to predict.
Given the FBI’s ongoing investigation and the NCAA’s reluctance to act until the feds can provide clearance, resolving Bowen’s case for reinstatement figures to be a prolonged process. Though Setchen expressed optimism Bowen can regain eligibility to play during the 2017-18 college season, it’s at least as likely his next competitive game will be in the NBA.
Derek Anderson’s task is to keep Bowen in game shape until his status can be clarified and to impart some of the lessons he learned in an 11-year NBA career.
“I told him when he came in here, the mental preparation is what separates you,” Anderson said Monday afternoon. “People want to see if you can handle situations, the game, the pressure. When you come into a game, you have to block out family, friends, everything.”