Out of nowhere, Louisville lands five-star Brian Bowen

The Dagger
After a long, circuitous recruitment, Brian Bowen committed to Louisville on Saturday. (AP)
After a long, circuitous recruitment, Brian Bowen committed to Louisville on Saturday. (AP)

The class of 2017’s last uncommitted five-star prospect announced his college choice Saturday, and it marked the end of a long, confusing recruitment rife with unexpected twists.

Louisville wasn’t considered a contender to land talented wing Brian Bowen until this week, when he reportedly made a visit to campus with his parents, attending a Cardinals practice and walking around Churchill Downs.

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Bowen announced his decision Saturday afternoon on Twitter.

Days before his announcement, there were clear signs he’d be heading to Louisville. A search of the school’s student directory revealed that a Brian Bowen had enrolled. The Louisville Courier-Journal confirmed with the university’s registrar’s office that Bowen’s status changed from application to matriculation and that he had enrolled in classes for the summer term.

With Bowen, the Cardinals have a strong case to begin next season as preseason favorites in the ACC and a top-10 team nationally.

A big, skilled small forward known best for his outside shooting, Bowen is capable of making an immediate impact as a freshman. He’ll likely be a key player off the bench for a Cardinals team that lost Donovan Mitchell to the NBA draft but returns incumbent point guard Quentin Snider, standout wing Deng Adel and breakout candidate V.J. King.

It’s surprising that Louisville could land Bowen given the wing talent it returns, but then again nothing about his recruitment was normal. At times, a half dozen different schools seemingly emerged as leaders over the past couple months, several of which weren’t among the list of five finalists Bowen listed back in February.

First it was Michigan State until Miles Bridges announced he wasn’t entering the draft this year. Then it was Arizona until starting wings Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins decided to return to school. DePaul emerged as a threat when it hired Bowen’s former high school coach. Creighton also was a popular pick since it had heavily recruited him for months. Oregon and Texas also made late pushes because both could offer talented rosters yet ample playing time.

In the end, RIck Pitino and the Cardinals swooped in and landed the last big prize of the 2017 class.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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