Brian Bowen entered at the 14:32 mark of the first half, his signature golden hair tied up in a bun. His looks are everything this week.
Thursday represented not only his NBA combine debut, but his first live-game appearance in front of media members, scouts, coaches and general managers in a while.
The (current) South Carolina Gamecock is a player of great intrigue at this event. Here are three things we learned from day one:
1. Bowen is not tipping his hand in any direction
While Bowen’s coach (Frank Martin) and lawyer (Jason Setchen) have been outspoken about his intentions to return to USC – should the NCAA make that an option – the player himself was a little more reserved Thursday.
“Not really sure,” he said when asked if he would favor the NBA route or school. “Just have to wait out the process, go through the combine and we’ll see what happens from there.”
The NCAA has still yet to rule on Bowen’s eligibility status. Early entry college players have until May 30 for a decision.
So why hasn’t Bowen just ended it all and signed with an agent?
“I feel like I’ve dealt with it pretty well,” he said. “I just want to get the best feedback that I can. Being at this combine, this invite was really huge for me going forward with my career and everything. Whenever I get the best feedback, I’m going to make my decision.”
Also of note: He’s called his USC experience “great” and a “blessing.”
2. There’s some rust to his game – naturally
Seth Davis, television analyst and lead college basketball writer at The Athletic, watched Bowen play for the first time Thursday.
“The majority of the guys playing in this event are not going to be (NBA) pros,” Davis said. “He looked to me like one of those.”
Bowen hadn’t played competitively in front of NBA scouts and personnel since the Jordan Brand Classic last spring. He managed five points, one rebound and one assist in nine minutes of five-on-five action. He also had six turnovers against three steals.
“I just got to get my groove back,” Bowen said. “It’s been a while. I haven’t played a legit game in so long. I just have to get my feel back. I know I have tremendous confidence in myself. I know I can play much better and everything. But getting my groove back, getting my feel back will help me a lot.”
3. He’s 6-foot-7 – with shoes on
Official measurements for Bowen:
Height with shoes – 6-7.5
Height without shoes – 6-6.25
Weight – 202 pounds
Wingspan – 6-10.25
Body fat – 7.6 percent
Standing vertical leap – 30.5 inches