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After a scandal and a year in Australia, Bowen targets NBA

Fri May 17 4:12pm ET
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) From the center of an FBI investigation that rocked college basketball, Brian Bowen hopes he is back on a path to the NBA.

Consider the combine this week one important stop.

''People know the situation. People know what happened, obviously,'' he said. ''They don't really harp on that. They want to know me as a person. They want to know me as a basketball player and that's what I came here for.''

The younger Bowen is trying to get his career on track after being engulfed in a scandal that prevented him from playing college basketball. Seven months ago, his father, Brian Sr., testified that he agreed to a $100,000 pay-for-play scheme with Adidas in exchange for a commitment by his son to play at Louisville. There have already been federal trials in the scandal, and the NCAA is looking at various schools amid the fallout.

Brian Bowen II is just hoping to persuade an NBA team to draft him June 20 after he played a season in Australia.

''I'm a lot stronger mentally than I thought I was,'' he said this week at the combine. ''For all the stuff I've been through, I've pushed through it and I know I can overcome a lot of things. I have to look at it like taking it day by day and realize there are people in situations that are way worse than mine as far as life. I'm just out here trying to play basketball.''

A smooth shooter from Saginaw, Michigan, Bowen appeared to be on the fast track to the NBA when he committed to Louisville two years ago. That changed after a federal complaint stated his father agreed to accept money under the table from Adidas if his son joined the Cardinals. Bowen Sr. also testified in October that he received $1,300 from a former Louisville assistant as part of a deal to get his son to sign with the school.

The younger Bowen was not named in the complaint. But details made it clear investigators were referring to him.

The case led to Bowen being suspended by Louisville and Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino was fired. Bowen transferred to South Carolina in January 2018 and was able to practice, but chose to leave when the NCAA determined he would miss most if not all of this past season.

Bowen, who attended the combine last year but withdrew from draft consideration, wound up signing in August with the Sydney Kings of Australia's National Basketball League. It turned out to be quite an experience, an education on the court and away from it.

He got to play alongside Andrew Bogut, an NBA champion with Golden State, and experience in practice just how hard his picks were. Coach Andrew Gaze, who played on a title winner with San Antonio, was up front with him right from the beginning: If Bowen thought he was going to start on a team with its sights set high, well, guess again.

To Bowen, that made it all the more attractive. That's because he figures he would have to come off the bench in the NBA.

''You're not going to play every game every night,'' he said. ''You're not going to play 25-plus minutes every night. I just want to be prepared with that, playing with those veterans. And try to pick their brains.''

Living in Sydney was valuable for a young adult trying to find his way. It took time getting used to seeing cars on the left side of the road and adapting to the ''tricky'' words, as he put it, like ''breaky'' for ''breakfast.''

Finding a barber to maintain his Mohawk was another priority. He found two. He also tried kangaroo; for the record, it did not taste like chicken.

''It's really not too bad,'' he said. ''It's just like roast beef, but just more chewy.''

He also missed Rib Shack in Saginaw, a popular barbecue joint recently damaged by a fire. But playing in the NBA is certainly something he would like to sink his teeth into. He viewed this combine as a sort of re-introduction.

He insisted he is a more rounded player than the one who showed up at the combine last year, with a better touch as well as a better handle on the ball. He's stronger physically and mentally.

Bowen is under contract to Sydney for next season, meaning an NBA team would have to buy out the deal or stash him there. But it's clear where he wants to be.

''There were a lot of tough points, obviously, with media, with everything that obviously went wrong,'' Bowen said. ''But I fought through it. And I realized that I could fight through a lot of things.''

Player Notes
T.J. Warren Jun 20 5:40pm ET

The Phoenix Suns have traded T.J. Warren and the 32nd pick in this year's NBA Draft to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for cash considerations. In Warren, the Pacers add a young player who averaged 18 points per game last year while shooting 42.8 percent on 4.2 three-point attempts per game. Warren can be a solid role player for the Pacers, and with rumors swirling that Bojan Bogdanovic might not be back in a Pacers uniform next year, Warren can slide into the starting lineup if necessary to provide the team with a solid wing option. His fantasy value should be on the rise, as he's now looking at a solid role on a good team instead of an uncertain role on a Suns team that seems to be in flux right now.

Grayson Allen Jun 19 3:40pm ET

The Memphis Grizzlies have finally traded their long-time point guard, Mike Conley, sending him to Utah in exchange for Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, and a pair of first round picks. Allen is the big headliner of the deal for the Grizzlies, as the other two players are likely to play smaller roles or, in Korver's case, possibly no role in Memphis. But Allen, a first round pick last year, was a strong college player at Duke, and while he struggled from deep last year, shooting just 32.3 percent from three on 2.6 attempts per game, he was a strong shooter coming into the league. Memphis will hope he regains that, and as the team enters a full rebuild, Allen should get plenty of run off the bench to prove it. He's a rising fantasy option, though that's mostly because he had virtually no value on a Jazz team that was looking to win now.

Mike Conley Jun 19 3:30pm ET

On Wednesday, the Utah Jazz acquired point guard Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, and a pair of first round draft picks. While Conley's never made an All-Star team, he's been an excellent point guard for Memphis for years and is coming off a 2018-19 season in which averaged a career-high 21.1 points per game for the Grizzlies while adding in 6.4 assists, 1.3 steals, and 3.4 rebounds. Conley will slide into the starting role occupied by Ricky Rubio last year, and while his scoring could take a step back as he won't need to be the primary scoring option on a team that has Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz are set up great for Conley to put up his best season in terms of assists. Less need to be the team's main scorer can also allow Conley to refocus on defense and gives him the potential to get his steals average back up around two per game. All in all, Conley's in a good spot, even if his scoring drops by a few points per game back to the high teens.

Brandon Ingram Jun 18 9:00am ET

The New Orleans Pelicans agreed to a deal which nets them forward Brandon Ingram, guard Lonzo Ball and swingman Josh Hart, as well as three first-round draft picks, while the Los Angeles Lakers nab power forward/center Anthony Davis. One of the picks the Pels receive will be the No. 4 overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, too. Ingram (arm) had thoracic outlet decompression surgery on his right arm in March, and the timetable called for a recovery in the neighborhood of June or July. In his final six games of the regular season he rolled up 27.8 points per game while snagging 7.5 boards per contest. If he can manage that type of production in the Crescent City over a much larger span, watch out. The Lakers might regret letting him get away. He is a budding fantasy superstar as long as he can stay healthy.

Josh Hart Jun 18 9:00am ET

The Los Angeles Lakers agreed to trade swingman Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and guard Lonzo Ball, as well as three first-round draft picks, to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday in exchange for power forward/center Anthony Davis. The Pelicans made quite the haul here. Hart (knee) is coming off of surgery in March for a torn right patellar tendon, and he joins a rather crowded backcourt in NOLA with Ball, Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore on the roster for now. The Pelicans might not be done molding their roster, but as it stands right now, Hart's fantasy outlook might actually be a little worse than it was in L.A.

Lonzo Ball Jun 18 9:00am ET

The Los Angeles Lakers agreed to trade guard Lonzo Ball, forward Brandon Ingram and swingman Josh Hart along with three first-round draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday in exchange for superstar power forward/center Anthony Davis. The Pelicans did well to acquire Ball, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, as well as the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming draft, and two more first-rounders. The Lakers will likely be glad to be rid of the baggage that is Lonzo's dad, LaVar Ball, but they are still losing a potential superstar in his own right if he develops as many expect. Ball spent a good chunk of the 2018-19 season on the injured list, but when he was healthy he was good for 9.9 points, 5.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He'll be one of the primary scoring options in New Orleans, and therefore his fantasy outlook for the new season is quite bright.

Anthony Davis Jun 18 9:00am ET

The New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to trade power forward/center Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday in exchange for swingman Lonzo Ball, forward Brandon Ingram and guard Josh Hart, as well as three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, according to sources. Davis gets his wish and will now play in La La Land next to aging, but still potent, superstar LeBron James. Will it be a match made in heaven? We'll see. But Davis might be rejuvenated playing for what he and Laker Nation hope will be a powerhouse for years to come. He remains a first-round fantasy talent regardless of the jersey he is wearing as long as he can stay healthy.

Kawhi Leonard Jun 14 6:10am ET

Toronto Raptors shooting guard/small forward Kawhi Leonard took home the Finals MVP in the 114-110 series-ending win over the Warriors on Thursday. Leonard recorded 22 points and added six rebounds with three assists and two steals with a block in 41 minutes of action. Leonard put up a legendary performance this postseason and hushed up any doubters after a bizarre season last year with the Spurs. The Raptors are hoping to retain their franchise cornerstone for next season, but either way, what we saw this offseason was truly remarkable from the Claw. In the words of Mark Jackson, "Mama, there goes that man!"

Kyle Lowry Jun 14 6:00am ET

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry came out on fire on Thursday recording eight points in the game's first three possessions for his club and finished the night with a huge line to secure the NBA Championship. Lowry finished the night with 26 points and added 10 assists with seven rebounds and three steals across 42 minutes of action. Lowry bounced back after a couple of rough games and hushed any doubters after averaging a solid 16.2 points, 7.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds over the entire series. Lowry is on the books for next season and the 33-year-old will look to continue filling up box scores.

Serge Ibaka Jun 14 5:50am ET

Toronto Raptors power forward/center Serge Ibaka pumped in 15 points to help secure his club's first NBA title on Thursday. Ibaka brought the energy once again off the bench and the veteran averaged 16.7 points on a sizzling 67% shooting over the series' final three games. Marc Gasol struggled offensively in this one going 0-for-5 from the floor for three points but added nine rebounds. Ibaka is locked in for next season with the Raptors and depending on what happens with Marc Gasol, Ibaka again should be mid to late-round player in most formats next season.

Fred VanVleet Jun 14 5:50am ET

Toronto Raptors guard Fred Vanvleet poured in 22 points and provided elite defense throughout the night on Stephen Curry to help secure the Raptors' first NBA Championship. VanVleet stepped things up massively since Game 4 versus the Bucks as he averaged 14.7 points over the last nine games and was a major difference maker in these finals. VanVleet could see an even larger role if the Raptors do not resign Danny Green for next season. Keep an eye on the Raptors this offseason as there are many question marks regarding their roster.

Pascal Siakam Jun 14 5:40am ET

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam came out firing in Game 6 when he connected on two triples in the game's first four minutes and finished the night with 26 points. Siakam finished the with a double-double as he added 10 rebounds with three assists and a steal with a block in 46 minutes of action. Siakam came into the game missing 12 threes in a row but showed much more confidence on his catch-and-shoot threes in this one. Siakam was a fantasy stud this season and depending what happens with Kawhi Leonard this offseason, we could Siakam as a top-30 player next season.

Stephen Curry Jun 14 5:30am ET

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry provided just 21 points on a rough 6-for-17 shooting in the Game 6 loss to the Raptors in his club's last game at the Oracle on Thursday. Curry came into the game averaging 32.4 points in the series' first five games, but the Raptors did all they could to force the sniper into tough shots. The Raptors went back to the box-and-one defense after the Warriors lost Klay Thompson (knee) for the night. With a lot of questions surrounding the Warriors this offseason, and some players looking to miss large chunks of next season, Curry has been catapulted to a top-3 player in next year's drafts.

Draymond Green Jun 14 5:20am ET

Golden State Warriors power forward/center Draymond Green did all he could on Thursday with his shorthanded club to try and get the win, but it was not enough in the 114-110 loss. Green provided a monster triple-double with 19 rebounds, 11 points and 13 assists with three steals and two blocks. Green struggled on the offensive end for most of this series but this valiant effort will not go unnoticed on this night. If the Warriors lose a superstar or two this offseason, we can easily see Green going back to his top-25 fantasy player status as he regularly filled up box scores with his injury-plagued club this postseason.

DeMarcus Cousins Jun 14 5:20am ET

Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins provided a solid lift off the bench in Game 6 on Thursday when he scored 12 points and added five rebounds across 19 minutes of action. The Warriors opted to go with Kevon Looney as the team's starter in the middle, but Cousins came out aggressively and provided some buckets in crucial moments. The Warriors even opted to a zone defense on some possessions in order to hide Cousins more on the defensive end. It will be an interesting offseason for Cousins who was coming off one serious injury and then injured his quad this postseason.

Andre Iguodala Jun 14 5:20am ET

Golden State Warriors shooting guard/small forward Andre Iguodala was given the opportunity and he took full advantage of it on Thursday in Game 6 versus the Raptors. Iguodala scored 22 points with two boards and added two assists with a block across 32 minutes of action. Iggy had provided just eight points in the previous two games and he stepped things up after Klay Thompson (knee) left the game for good in the third quarter. He is now 35 and is on the books for next season, but we can expect Iggy to once again have restrictions in hopes on conversing himself for the 2019-20 postseason.

Klay Thompson Jun 14 5:10am ET

Golden State Warriors shooting guard/small forward Klay Thompson was putting forth a heroic effort in Game 6 before injuring his knee. Thompson landed awkwardly on his left knee and started exiting to the locker room before returning to shoot his free throws to leave the door open for a possible return. It was later revealed that he would not return to action after scoring 30 points across 32 minutes. Thompson had a massive series and it was a major blow to his club losing him in the series' most crucial game. It was later revealed that he indeed tore his ACL and we wish him a speedy recovery in hopes of a return at some point next season.

Stephen Curry Jun 11 6:00am ET

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry scored 23 of his 31 points in the opening half to help secure the Game 5 win over the Raptors in Toronto on Monday. Curry connected on 10 of 23 shooting from the floor and added eight boards with seven assists and five makes from three. Curry and backcourt teammate Klay Thompson led the charge after Kevin Durant (Achilles) exited the game and will once again be the lead players in Game 6 with the series on the line. Expect another monster night from Curry on Thursday, making him a must play.

Draymond Green Jun 11 5:50am ET

Golden State Warriors power forward/center Draymond Green once again filled up the stat sheet and just missed out on a triple-double in 41 minutes of action on Monday. Green scored 10 points with 10 rebounds and handed out eight dimes with a steal and a block. The Raptors dared him to shoot from downtown and Green made them pay as he nailed two of four from range. Green lost his cool on a couple of occasions in this emotional game and he picked up his sixth technical foul of the postseason, with one more leading to automatic one-game suspension. Green has been solid this postseason and is always a welcome addition to any lineup in DFS.

Kevin Durant Jun 11 5:50am ET

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (Achilles) made a heroic return to action on Monday after missing nine postseason games, only to exit the game with an Achilles injury in the second quarter. In the emotional game, Durant came out on fire, scoring 11 points in the opening frame before the injury occurred. The Warriors sadly believe that he has torn his Achilles and the official results will be released on Tuesday after an MRI. If it is indeed a tear, we can expect the superstar to miss most of the 2019-20 campaign. Stay posted on Tuesday for updates and we wish the best for KD and his recovery.