To commemorate the end of 2017, the staff of USA TODAY High School Sports debated the dominant storylines of 2017 to determine the five most important and resonant of the year.
1: BRIAN BOWEN LINKED TO FBI PROBE INTO COLLEGE HOOPS
The basketball world let out a collective gasp in September when the FBI announced that 10 people, including adidas executives and assistant college coaches, faced federal bribery and fraud charges related to paying recruits’ families to attend certain colleges with the understanding that the players would later sign with shoe companies and specific agents when they turn pro.
One of the former high school stars linked to the investigation was Brian Bowen, a 6-foot-6 wing who signed with Louisville.
According to the affidavit, Bowen’s father, Brian Sr., was promised $100,000 to send Bowen to Louisville and eventually place him with sports agent Christian Dawkins and other advisers once he turned pro.
As a result of the FBI probe, legendary Louisville coach Rick Pitino was “effectively fired” and in November the school announced that Bowen would remain on scholarship but would not be permitted to rejoin the team.
Bowen recently told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that he found out about the allegations “the same way as the whole media” and that he didn’t believe his father was involved.
“I didn’t know anything, anything at all,” Bowen said.
Bowen’s fall from grace was swift and hard.
Six months prior to the allegations, Bowen, a five-star recruit, led La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) to the DICK’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals title just days after playing in the McDonald’s All American Game.
Bowen, a former American Family Insurance ALL-USA player, averaged 21.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.
Louisville granted Bowen permission to transfer, but no word yet on whether he plans to take his talents elsewhere despite being cleared in the bribery investigation by the FBI.
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