Class of 2017 5-star forward Brian Bowen keeping options open

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

As one of the six unsigned prospects in the class of 2017 participating in the Jordan Brand Classic last Friday night in Brooklyn, small forward Brian Bowen was still soaking up the recruiting process and all the perks that come with it.

The 6-foot-7, 194-pound small forward from Saginaw, Michigan (La Lumiere School) is reportedly down to five schools: Michigan State, Arizona, North Carolina State, Creighton and Texas. Bowen is also a national high school champion. His school, La Lumiere, won the Dick’s National High School Championship a little more than two weeks ago.

For one night in Brooklyn, though, Bowen—who is affectionately called Tugs—was happy to enjoy the pomp and circumstance that comes with playing in another prestigious high-school all-star game. Just two weeks prior, he played in the legendary McDonald’s All-American Game.

“We played in Chicago for the McDonald’s game and I thought that was a great crowd, but here, it is truly amazing,” Bowen said about his experience playing in Brooklyn. “New York City, they truly love their basketball. I really fed off the crowd being here and (was) hyped. I picked up off that for sure.”

Bowen was indeed charged from the start of the Jordan Brand Classic. He scored a game-high 26 points (shooting 10-13 from the field and 6-7 from three-point range) en route to being named East Team MVP. This came after he scored just three points on 1-6 shooting in 14 minutes in the McDonald’s game.

According to 247 Sports, Bowen is rated as a five-star prospect and the No. 15 overall recruit (fourth best small forward) in the 2017 class.

What makes him such a dynamic player is his ability to thrive in both up-tempo and half-court settings. Bowen is at his best when he attacking the basket. He can finish at the rim in a variety of ways.

Bowen is also a solid three-point shooter and is a tough matchup given his height, length and athleticism.

“I really think my versatility is a big thing,” Bowen said. “I can bring a lot (to the table) both offensively and defensively.”

He said attention to defense is also major factor in improving as a complete player and trying to get to the next level.

“Guarding a lot of positions is a big thing,” Bowen added. “Going to the NBA, and a big thing in that is that I want to show (it off) in college. I want to show my scoring ability and be a team leader.”

It’s no wonder why Arizona, Michigan State and Creighton are hard after his services. These schools, as well as Texas and N.C. State, have been there from the get-go. That means a lot to Bowen.

However, he is leaving all options on the table when it comes to his college decision. That includes listening to other schools.

He has recently heard from Oregon, Missouri and Ohio State. Troy Brown, an Oregon signee, and Michael Porter, a Missouri signee, were two of the other players playing in the Jordan Brand classic who were trying to convince Bowen to join them at their respective schools.

“Honestly, there’s so many schools calling me because they know I’m undecided,” he said. “These guys here (which also included the likes of DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson and Matt Coleman—other players at the Jordan Brand Classic who are signed to schools on Bowen’s list) are pushing their coaches on me (and) to go to their schools.”

Left out of the national conversation is the fact that Bowen visited DePaul last month. Blue Demon head coach Dave Leitao has his ear about trying to build something special at the struggling Big East program.

“They (DePaul’s staff) have talked to me a lot,” Bowen added. “They have been coming to my school a lot. I have kept in touch with them. Coach Leitao and his staff are great people.”

Much has been made of Bowen’s final five. By most indications, he will likely choose from one of those schools. Picking out a favorite in the Bowen sweepstakes is difficult.

He is mostly leaning on his family for guidance.

“Any school that I pick can help get me to the next level,” he said. “The biggest thing for me right now is what my family thinks. They have been there the whole way and have continued to be there.”

Bowen said he hopes to make his decision in the next couple of weeks.

While some recruitments are easy to pin down, Bowen’s case is a little different. He wants to make sure all the Ts are crossed and all the Is are dotted before signing on the dotted line.

“I’m keeping my ears open and I won’t say its 100 percent definite (that he’s down to five schools),” Bowen concluded.

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