Spartan Nation Exclusive: Elite 2017 Star Brian Bowen says Tom Izzo and Michigan State, "Already Like a Family."
Brian Bowen just finished his freshman year at Arthur Hill High School, a respected basketball powerhouse in Saginaw, Michigan.
The class of 2017 recruit averaged 15 points and 14 rebounds per game in the 2013-14 season, raking in accolades and drawing attention from colleges all across the country.
Bowen already has three scholarship offers in hand, including one from Michigan State. By the time he signs his letter of intent, Bowen might be the #1 player in the state of Michigan.
Bowen recently spoke with Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. on Spartan Nation Radio, discussing the recruiting process, academics, and his plan moving forward.
Only a handful of freshmen receive significant playing time on the varsity team under the direction of head coach Greg McMath. Even fewer light it up like Bowen did in his first season at Arthur Hill.
Opposing teams struggled to defend Bowenâ€™s combination of size and shooting ability. The youngster looks up to Magic Johnson as his basketball idol, as Bowen hopes he can be the same type of all-around player.
â€œIâ€™m just very versatile,â€ Bowen said. â€œWith my height, I like to go into the post. On offense, I liked to dribble up the court.â€
McMath believes in his young player, comparing him to â€œGrant Hill with a jumpshot.â€
â€œHe has the potential to be that type of player,â€ McMath said. â€œHe works hard, heâ€™s a gym rat, he loves the game, he loves to get better. Like I said about Eric [Davis], his mind is so great. I can play him at the 5 or I can play him at the point.â€
Bowen posted outstanding numbers for a freshman, averaging a double-double for the Knights. The power forward received national recognition for his efforts, as he was as an honorable mention selection for the CBS Freshman All-American team.
The end result was a thing of beauty, but the road wasnâ€™t always smooth for Bowen. The 6â€™6, 175 pound prospect had to adjust to McMathâ€™s disciplined approach.
â€œIt was tough, especially for my freshman year,â€ Bowen said. â€œHe was on me about everything I would do.â€
In hindsight, Bowen realizes how much the veteran coach has helped him.
â€œIâ€™m used to it now, so I like it a lot,â€ Bowen said. â€œIt helps the whole team when he pushes us. It makes me better personally and us as a team. Heâ€™s just getting me ready for the future.â€
McMath has coached stars before. Jason Richardson, Bowenâ€™s cousin, played for the Knights before playing for Michigan State and eventually in the NBA.
â€œ[McMath] tells me a lot of good things. Heâ€™s had good players before,â€ Bowen said. â€œHe tells me everything they did, how they got better. Being coachable is the main thing.â€
One good piece of advice McMath has emphasized with his young star is to bulk up over the offseason. Bowen has the height, but needs to add some muscle. Bowen has taken the advice to heart.
â€œIâ€™ve been in there every day this summer trying to get stronger,â€ Bowen said. â€œThatâ€™s the one thing Iâ€™m missing right now, getting stronger, and Iâ€™m working on that now.â€
Bowen also likes to exercise his mind in the classroom. He works just as hard to keep his grades up.
â€œI like to do as best as I can: I have all Aâ€™s and one B+.â€
The young player knows that education is the true key to success.
â€œAnything can happen to you on the court: you could tear your ACL and be done for your career,â€ Bowen said. â€œYou have to look at something as Plan B for after basketballâ€¦If you get hurt in college, that degree is always going to be there. You could get a job from your education.â€
Bowenâ€™s combination of smarts and skills make him a prized commodity to top-tier programs, as evidenced by the long list of programs interested in the Saginaw native. MSU, North Carolina State, and Missouri have all extended offers to Bowen, while schools like Kentucky, Ohio State, and Michigan have shown heavy interest.
Bowen has only visited two schools thus far â€“ MSU and Michigan â€“ but he has plans to visit many more over the course of the next few years.
Since he doesnâ€™t have much to go on, Bowen does not have a list of his top schools yet. Head coach Tom Izzo has managed to capture Bowenâ€™s attention, though.
â€œTheyâ€™re like a family. My cousin (Jason Richardson)Â went there, so itâ€™s like a family [at MSU], â€œBowen said. â€œI like the way they play. Izzo is a very good coach.â€
Hopefully Bowen will decide to join the Spartan Nation family when the time comes. Bowen is a fine young man with limitless potential thanks to his ability on the court and his smarts off of it.