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Former Louisville recruit Brian Bowen says he “didn’t know anything” about payments to family

For the first time since the scandal that derailed his basketball career, Brian Bowen has spoken out publicly.

2017 McDonald's All American Game Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Brian Bowen, the former five-star recruit who was at the center of the FBI probe that resulted in the firings of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich, claims he had no knowledge of the alleged payments made to his family.

“I didn't know anything about it," Bowen told ESPN. "I was shocked. I didn't believe it at all. ... They have to be lying. There's no way I'm involved in it."

Federal documents released in late September allege that Bowen’s family was promised $100,000 by an Adidas representative in exchange for Bowen signing with Louisville. One payment of “about $19,500” was accepted by Bowen’s father, Brian Bowen Sr.

The news sent the UofL program into chaos, and ultimately resulted in the firings of Pitino and Jurich, two of the university’s most successful employees of all-time. It also resulted in Bowen, a top 20 player in the recruiting class of 2017, being removed from the Cardinals basketball team and left wondering what his next step should be.

Bowen told ESPN that he had originally been set to sign with Arizona, but that he changed his mind once both Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins decided to return to school. Louisville, a school which had recruited him as a freshman but backed off once assistant coach Wyking Jones left for California, then got back involved after it lost Donovan Mitchell to the NBA Draft.

"No one pressured me to go to Louisville or any other school," Bowen said. "I made the ultimate decision."

Bowen said that while the controversy has brought he and his family closer, he hasn’t spoken with his father about whether he was involved in the situation that resulted in him being in basketball limbo.

"I prefer not to talk about it, and he respects that," Bowen said. "We just don't talk about the situation at all."

As for his next move, Bowen says he’s still focused on finding a way to play college basketball.

"My biggest thing is that I want to play college basketball," Bowen said. "There are other routes I can go. I could go play in Spain or Australia or in Lithuania with the Ball brothers. But my dream was to play college basketball.”