2017 top recruit Brian Bowen has cut his list of consideration down to 12 schools, and three Big Ten schools made the cut. The Michigan five star’s final 12 includes Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State. Needless to say, a majority of the remaining nine schools who made Bowen’s final 12 are college basketball blue bloods. Of the 12 schools in Bowen’s final 12, only Kentucky has not extended an offer.
The other teams include PAC 12’s Arizona, Oregon and UCLA; Big 12’s Kansas and Texas; and Creighton, North Carolina State and UNLV. Creighton and UNLV, the two non-power five conference teams in the final 12, are somewhat surprising to see but their inclusion speaks to the impressive work Greg McDermott has done in Omaha and the strides Marvin Menzies has made in a short time with a turbulent UNLV program.
Bowen is a small forward who looks like he will be a one-and-done type talent. He is one of Michigan’s State’s top targets and right now all predictions on 247 sports have him going to East Lansing.
Truthfully, a final 12 list for a recruit is not really saying much. Most recruits have their lists of 20-30 schools who have extended offers or are seriously recruiting them, but if they are being honest with themselves, they are only seriously considering 15 or so schools.
The only notable aspect about the announcing of this final 12 are a few of the schools Bowen left out like Louisville, Notre Dame and Villanova. One could imagine some of the hazy off the court incidents at Louisville could have led to Bowen cutting them out, but I cannot say that for sure. However, it is a potentially interesting storyline if big name recruits are beginning to think twice about a top-tier program like Louisville, so it could be a trend to keep an eye on. For the Big Ten, Illinois and Iowa were the only schools who had offered Bowen and are now eliminated from consideration.
Now, let’s take a look at where Bowen factors in on the recruiting radars of the three schools who are still recruiting him. He is from Michigan, but plays for La Lumiere in Indiana so all three institutions have a geographic connection with him.
Michigan State does not yet have any commits in their 2017 class, but they are expected to have a few scholarships available. Miles Bridges is presumably going to leave school after his freshman year for the NBA Draft which would leave a hole at the small forward position. If the Spartans could fill that spot with a player who is the caliber of Bowen, it would be extremely beneficial because the loss of Bridges would not hurt nearly as much.
If it looks like Bridges could return for a sophomore campaign, however, Bowen may not be as interested in playing for Tom Izzo if that could mean riding the bench for a good portion of his freshman season, much like Deyonta Davis this year.
Indiana is in a similar situation as far as an unclear future of the small forward position. O.G. Anunoby is expected to have a breakout year this season and submit his name for the NBA draft in May. If he does, Bowen would fill his place in the rotation very nicely with Freddie McSwain available to play more minutes if Bowen struggles early on. Of course, IU may still value small forward Kris Wilkes, the homegrown product, higher than Bowen, according to 247 sports.
As for Michigan, they could definitely use an athletic and talented small forward. A number of their better players will be graduating this year and others are playing out of position at the three. They currently have two commitments in Jordan Poole and Eli Brooks. Both players are guards which is a good sign due to the impending loss of Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. Adding Bowen to that list of commits would be a huge boost for the Wolverines.
Ultimately, I believe Bowen’s decision will be made largely based on which team he believes he will see the floor the most on. Clearly he has narrowed his list to high quality programs, and one would have to imagine winning will be a factor in the decision, but for a guy who is a potential one-and-done playing time as a freshman could matter a lot.