NC State

Brian Bowen, former NC State recruiting target, emerges in college coaching scandal

Brian Bowen announced his commitment to Louisville on Twitter on June 3.
Brian Bowen announced his commitment to Louisville on Twitter on June 3. AP

A former N.C. State basketball recruiting target appears to be part of an alleged bribe scheme that involved a family of a recruit accepting $100,000 in exchange for the player’s commitment to Louisville, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Brian Bowen, a five-star recruit in the Class of 2017, had visited N.C. State last fall and was heavily recruited by former Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried.

Bowen and Louisville are not named in the FBI’s report on the case.

In documents provided by the FBI, “University-6 is a public research university located in Kentucky. With approximately 22,640 students and over 7,000 faculty and staff members, it is one of the state’s largest universities. University-6 fields approximately 21 varsity sports teams in NCAA Division I competition, including men’s basketball.”

Also, in the report, under the header “ALLEGATIONS INVOLVING UNIVERSITY-6,” James Gatto, the director of global marketing at adidas, Merl Code, an adidas employee, Christian Dawkins, a sports agent, and Munish Sood, a financial advisor, conspired to funnel about $100,000 from Adidas to the family of “Player-10,” to get the player to commit to play at University-6.

The FBI documents also state, “on or about June 3, 2017, or almost immediately after the illicit bribe scheme set forth herein was agreed to, Player-10 publicly announced his intention to enroll at University-6. Contemporaneous press accounts described the announcement as a “surprise commitment” that “c(ame) out of nowhere” and a “late recruiting coup” for coaches at University-6”

Bowen announced his decision to play at Louisville on Twitter on June 3.

Carrie Malecke, Bowen’s mother, told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Tuesday that she was not aware of a bribe scheme.

“I don’t know anything about that,” Malecke, told the Courier-Journal. “I don’t know anything about that. I’m not aware of anything like that. Not me. I had no idea.”

Bowen, a 6-7, 194-pound small forward, was a McDonald’s All-American. He’s a Michigan native who played at La Lumiere School in Indiana.

However, Gottfried was fired in February, and N.C. State soon lost favor with Bowen.

Louisville was a late addition to the recruiting process for Bowen.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, after Bowen committed to Louisville, Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino told WHAS, “I had an AAU director call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a player (Bowen). I saw him against another great player from Indiana. I said ‘Yeah, I’d be really interested.’ They had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotel, pay for their meals. We spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40 years of coaching, this is the luckiest I’ve been.”

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander