Brian Bowen wasn’t drafted, but he will get his NBA chance.
A South Carolina Gamecock of a few months during the 2017-18 season, Bowen was signed by the Indiana Pacers after the conclusion of Thursday’s two-round, 60-pick NBA Draft.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony was first to break the Bowen news.
“It’s all part of the story. STAY SLEEP #UNDRAFTED,” Bowen tweeted.
The 6-foot-7 wing spent last season in the Australia-based National Basketball League, where he averaged six points and three rebounds a game for the Sydney Kings. His two-way contract with the Pacers — similar to PJ Dozier’s deal with the Boston Celtics — means he’ll spend a bulk of his season with Indiana’s G League affiliate (Fort Wayne Mad Ants) and no more than 45 days with the Pacers.
Bowen, a Michigan native, graduated from La Lumiere in Indiana.
The NBL later confirmed Bowen’s move to the Pacers.
Bowen’s journey overseas came after a brief stay in Columbia. He joined USC in January 2018 after leaving Louisville in light of being a centerpiece in the FBI’s probe into college basketball.
A former McDonald’s All-American, Bowen figured to be one of Carolina’s best players, but he was never reinstated by the NCAA and, thus, never appeared in a game for the Gamecocks. He signed to the NBL in August 2018 in hopes of developing as an NBA player.
He was projected as a second round pick by The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie.
Bowen told The State on Wednesday that he considers USC his alma mater and he plans to keep his Columbia apartment.
“They (USC) did whatever they could to better me,” he said. “They helped me get back to who I was as a person.”
South Carolina coach Frank Martin on Wednesday confirmed Bowen’s appreciation of the Gamecocks. He expects Bowen to continue to represent USC throughout his professional career.
“When Brian has a 15-year career, he’s always going to have a Gamecock hat,” Martin said.
Martin tweeted Friday he was happy for Bowen’s opportunity with the Pacers, a “great organization.”