NBA Draft 2018: Ex-Louisville recruit Brian Bowen enters NBA Draft but wants to play at South Carolina

The South Carolina Gamecocks' Brian Bowen is in a difficult situation. He's a year removed from basketball after being forced to leave Louisville amid an FBI investigation into NCAA basketball corruption that dug up evidence that a $100,000 payment was funneled to Bowen's family to get him to sign with the Cardinals. 

With no future at Louisville after being suspended, Bowen transferred to South Carolina in January with hopes of being declared eligible to play by the NCAA for 2018-19.

Now, as the forward awaits his fate to see if the NCAA allows him to play for South Carolina, he told ESPN on Wednesday he was  declaring for the draft without hiring an agent. By not hiring an agent, Bowen can pull out of the NBA Draft if he is cleared by the NCAA but can remain in the draft if he hasn't heard from the NCAA by the May 30 deadline for players to withdraw.

It's tough for Bowen, because he really doesn't have options. There's no real timetable on the NCAA's decision regarding whether or not Bowen's suspension will be lifted and he'll be reinstated. 

Bowen hasn't played any college competition, and if he is forced to enter the draft, scouts will only really have the NBA Draft Combine to look at him, presuming he's extended an invite. Seen as a possible second-round pick, college was -- and is -- the former McDonald's All-American's first choice, and a year off hasn't changed that outlook.

"I just felt that it was the right decision," he told ESPN Wednesday. "My goal is still to play college basketball, but I felt as thhimough it makes sense to cover my bases."

Bowen's lawyer Jason Setchen also weighed in on the decision.

"This is a mature move from Brian," Setchen told ESPN. "We're hopeful and have faith that the NCAA will make the right decision and allow Brian to play next season for South Carolina, but he'll also have the opportunity to be drafted if that doesn't happen."

Bowen has denied allegations of any knowledge of the payment, and South Carolina has filed for his reinstatement with the support of coach Frank Martin. Ultimately, Bowen may end up having to make the same decision in a few weeks, and this could just be a delay on the decision. With that being said, Bowen may be able to get some feedback at the combine, which is more than he's gotten in the past year. It's a small consolation, but for a player in Bowen's frustrating situation, it's something.

The NBA Draft will be on June 21. Bowen may be a bit of a wild card in that draft, but we will now more about him after May's combine.

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