Former Saginaw Arthur Hill H.S. standout Brian 'Tugs' Bowen Jr. shook up the college basketball recruiting landscape when he committed to the University of Louisville Saturday.
Bowen, the No. 18 recruit in the country (according to Scout.com)
and the only five-star recruit yet to sign, did not have the Cardinals on his radar since early in his recruiting process, however, the stars aligned and decisions by other players would create a perfect fit for Louisville and the 6-foot-8 scoring machine from Sagnasty.
Louisville reconnected with Bowen after learning its star guard Donovan Mitchell had decided to leave school for the NBA draft, letting him know there would be an opening for some significant minutes at the shooting guard/small forward position.
Bowen did not have Louisville in his final list of six schools, however, he had talked to them earlier in the recruiting process and was intrigued with the possibility to make an impact earning minutes at shooting guard and small forward, so he decided to make an official visit.
“They called me again,” Bowen said in an interview on Scout.com. “They told me about Donovan Mitchell going to the draft a couple weeks ago and that was a surprise to them. That was really appealing to me because going in there I can play the two and the three and there's a lot of minutes and opportunity to make an impact.”
After meeting hall of fame coach Rick Pitino, who has a reputation for developing NBA talent and has a national championship caliber team returning, Bowen and his family were convinced that 'the Lou' was definitely the right fit.
“He's a hall of fame coach,” Bowen said of Pitino. “They've been winning a lot of games. The guys that have gone there have done great. I think he's one of, if not, the best at developing potential in the country. That's big for me in reaching my goal. My family loved the atmosphere. They loved the area, the campus and they loved the coaching staff.”
A proven champion at every level, Bowen has the talent, drive, and potential to lead the Cardinals to an NCAA championship.
As an eighth grader at St. Stephens Catholic School in Saginaw, Bowen scored 33-points to lead the Titans to a Valley Parochial League championship, before going to Arthur Hill H.S. where he started as a freshman, ultimately leading the Lumberjacks to the MHSAA class-A state championship game as a sophomore.
He transferred to La Lumiere Prep Academy H.S. (La Porte, IN) for his Junior year, leading the Lakers to the Dicks Sporting Goods National Championship final game, only to lose to national powerhouse Oakhill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA) 60-62 on a last second tip-in basket in overtime.
Back in October, Bowen (who is the cousin of former AHHS, MSU, and NBA star Jason Richardson) had narrowed his choices to six schools:
Creighton, N.C. State, Arizona, Texas, UCLA, and Michigan State, and all signs were pointing to him signing with Coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State in East Lansing, however, when Flint native Miles Bridges announced he would be returning to MSU next year, everything started going in a different direction.
Bridges' decision to return to MSU forced Bowen to reconsider his final choices and despite a close relationship between Izzo, MSU and the Bowen family, his visit to the Cardinals' campus on May, 29 was enough to realize he had found his new home.
“I think the visit sold me on it,” Bowen said. “I really didn't know everything about them. The visit was great. I really thought about it a couple days afterwards. I got on the phone with coach and let him know that I want to go there.”