Brian Bowen, obeying orders from an NBA staffer, sat down at the first available chair. He then twisted his neck and shot a glance at the unfamiliar nameplate.
"Ray? I'm pretty sure my parents named me Brian." He grinned, got up and slid three spots down to his assigned seat.
Bowen knocked the rust off a few things Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine. He played a 5-on-5 game in front of a crowd for the first time in more than a year — and, yes, he spoke to reporters.
The 6-foot-7 small forward broke his silence on a number of topics, including his departure from Louisville, his arrival at South Carolina and his upcoming decision.
On the FBI report from September that alleged Bowen's father was funneled $100,000 by Adidas to help steer Bowen toward the Cardinals: "It's a situation I have to deal with at hand. It is what it is. I just have to deal with it and continue to stay focused. That was really my big thing when everything happened. I wanted to continue going to school. I finished with a 3.5 GPA, so it was big for me.”
Bowen was leaving class at U of L on Sept. 26 when news of the FBI's probe was released. He learned of it via television. Louisville coach Rick Pitino was fired three weeks later. Bowen said he's yet to speak with Pitino since the dismissal.
After being ruled ineligible and transferring from the Cardinals, Bowen came to USC in January. He couldn't play in games, but he went to class, practiced with the Gamecocks and finished with a high grade-point average.
"It's been great," he said of his Carolina experience. "They've helped me. I was going through a lot at the time when I was looking to transfer. And that's really the reason why I picked the school.
"Frank Martin, he's a great person overall. He's a great human being. The compliance office, the people at the school, the athletic director, they've all been on board to help me out. It's been truly a blessing for them to help me out as much as they have."
Bowen has until May 30 to make a decision on whether to go pro or stay in school. The NCAA has yet to rule on his eligibility for next season.
"I haven't gotten any in-depth details, honestly," he said. "I'm just hearing the minimal and been given the minimal. We're really just on their (the NCAA's) time. Like I said, my lawyer and the school, they're dealing with it, the compliance office. So I'm just dealing with them."
Bowen said he's traveled and worked out for the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz. He's had interviews with the Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings, among others.
He said he doesn't have an agent in mind, should he go the professional route. Which way is he leaning?
"Not really sure," he said. "Just have to wait out my process, go through the combine and see what happens from there."
The element of unknown weighs on Bowen as the process continues.
"This is my career on the line," he said.
Bowen scored five points in Thursday's scrimmage. He's not projected to be selected in June 21's draft.