Former McDonald’s All-American Brian Bowen has signed a professional contract to play for the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League in Australia, ESPN reported Tuesday.
He signed with the team under the league’s Next Stars program, which began in March.
“I am honored to be the first player under the NBL’s Next Stars program and feel it will be the perfect next step as I continue the path toward fulfilling my dream of playing in the NBA,” Bowen said in a statement provided to ESPN. “In joining the Sydney Kings, I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to start my professional career.”
The 6-foot-7 Bowen was the recruit involved in Louisville’s decision to fire coach Rick Pitino during an FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball. The FBI alleged his family was paid $100,000 by Adidas in exchange for a commitment to Louisville.
Louisville eventually ruled that Bowen wouldn’t be allowed to play for the school. He later transferred to South Carolina in hopes of playing in the 2018-19 season.
With his future still unclear, Bowen applied for the 2018 NBA Draft and later withdrew his name. But during the process, the NCAA ruled he was ineligible for this season and perhaps longer, leaving a pro career as his top option.
Signing the contract in Australia makes Bowen eligible for the 2019 draft.
One of Bowen’s teammates in Australia will be former NBA big man Andrew Bogut, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 draft.
—Field Level Media