Five-star wing Brian Bowen doesn’t have any La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) teammates committed to Arizona, Creighton, North Carolina State and Texas. So he can walk around school without being prodded to chose one of those contenders.
But he does have one teammate, fellow 5-star senior Jaren Jackson Jr., who committed to Michigan State in September. So every day Bowen waits longer to decide, he hears more and more about the Spartans from Jackson.
“I’m probably really annoying to him now,” Jackson told Land of 10. “Our school’s only so big, so whether we have class together or not, I probably have half of my classes with him. And then after that, you’re seeing me in the hallway. And then we’ve got practice. And then we’ve got travel. And then we’ve got games. You’re never really gonna get away from me.”
At one point, Bowen had thought he might decide on a college before the early signing period ended Nov. 16. When that didn’t happened, he aimed for late December. Again, it didn’t happen.
Well, now that he’s been named a McDonald’s All-American, might he wait until that event in March to make his announcement? Bowen said no. He’ll make one last trip to East Lansing, he said, and then decide.
“I think I’m gonna go the end of this month,” he said, “after the Michigan State visit on the 29th.”
The Spartans’ game against Michigan that day filled a gap in La Lumiere’s busy schedule. Bowen said he has long lost track of how many visits he’s taken to Michigan State, but he wanted to go one final time before his decision to see “a great atmosphere.”
His teammate, 4-star sophomore point guard and Michigan State target Tyger Campbell, apparently hasn’t thought much about whether he’ll go. But Jackson already has his plans set.
“Come on now,” Jackson said. “You know I’m going. I’ve got to go. I would go if he wasn’t going. I’m trying to go see a good game. I’m trying to go see our team destroy somebody. I’m in (4-star Michigan signee) Jordan (Poole)’s ear, too: ‘We’re gonna destroy you, then next year, and the next year and the next year.’ I’m ready for that game.”
Bowen still has a lot to consider. He said N.C. State and Texas continue to text and call him. Creighton has been pushing, as well. The Bluejays have been top-10 ranked for most of the season, and Bowen called them “a rising program” with a plan for him to be a star.
And Arizona continues to be intriguing, especially after the Wildcats missed on 5-star wing Hamidou Diallo to Kentucky.
“They were calling a lot before, but now they’ve picked it up really heavily,” Bowen said. “It’s an interesting situation because you really don’t know who’s gonna stay and who’s gonna go. They do have a lot of guys at my position, but if those guys go, it’s a big open spot for me.”
Of course, Michigan State has continued to be in close contact. It’s mostly been coach Tom Izzo, but Bowen keeps in touch with the assistants and players, as well. Like Arizona, Michigan State faces questions about losing players to the NBA Draft, mainly surrounding freshman standout Miles Bridges.
“I think it’s a little different with Miles, because it’s really only Miles,” Bowen said. “They need another guy like Miles to come in and do a lot of things, because he’s been doing a lot. He has a lot on his shoulders right now. Coming in, if he doesn’t leave, it would be a great team with me and him.”
Bowen said he doesn’t see himself as a potential replacement for Bridges. Rather, he sees them playing together, with Bowen at the two or three positions while Bridges handles the three or four.
Bowen said he doesn’t know how he’ll announce his decision. He said he had considered a Bleacher Report video, but that organization wanted him to wait longer that he preferred.
What he does know, though, is that he’s closer than ever to a decision. It should finally come in about a week.
“I think I’m narrowing my schools, kind of, in a sense, getting a better sense of all the schools that I’m down to,” Bowen said. “It’ll be interesting. We’ll see. It’s gonna be hard.”