Brian Bowen’s in. Is Zion Williamson next?
South Carolina’s basketball program drew national headlines Wednesday when it announced the signing of Bowen, a former McDonald’s All-American and Louisville recruit who’s linked to the FBI probe that brought down Cardinals coach Rick Pitino.
Bowen, per NCAA transfer rules, must sit two semesters before becoming eligible for the Gamecocks. He also must be reinstated by the NCAA, an issue USC athletics director Ray Tanner addressed Wednesday when he noted “we will work diligently with the NCAA through our compliance office to ensure that Brian is eligible for competition.”
When Bowen, a consensus top 20 recruit in the 2017 class, actually debuts for Carolina is unknown. What is known: Williamson, a consensus top 3 recruit in the 2018 class, will announce his college decision Jan. 20.
The Spartanburg native is choosing between Clemson, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and USC. Williamson took an unofficial visit to South Carolina in September.
Surely, the Gamecocks can now pitch to Williamson the chance to team with a fellow five-star player at Colonial Life Arena.
A program source told The State on Wednesday evening that communication with Williamson has been “really good.”
Asked about the chances for Williamson to join Bowen in garnet and black, the source said “it’s a real possibility. I know that.”
Williamson is a listed 6-foot-6, 275-pound wing who was averaging over 35 points per game this season for Spartanburg Day before suffering a foot injury. He’s expected to return to the Griffins on Thursday night when they host Asheville Christian Academy. Most national recruiting analysts are predicting Williamson will commit to Clemson.
Bowen is a 6-7, 195-pound small forward who can play both guard positions if needed.
USC still doesn’t have a commitment in its 2018 class, though it’s in a “good place,” said a program source, with three-star guard Jermaine Couisnard. Cousinard, a Chicago area native who’s spending a prep year at Montverde Academy in Florida, was offered by the Gamecocks last week. An announcement is expected soon.