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Nets among teams working out 5-star recruit caught up in NCAA scandal

2017 McDonald's All American Game Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Brian Bowen, a five-star recruit who got caught up in the NCAA recruiting scandal, is among the first prospects worked out by the Nets, according to reports. K.L. Chounaird of the Hawks tweeted Thursday that following his workout in Atlanta, Bowen said he’d also worked out with two other teams.

Bowen is not under investigation by the FBI, but lost his scholarship to Louisville —and perhaps his college eligibility— when news broke that his family received payments from adidas to attend Louisville. A number of basketball agents and assistant college coaches have been either indicted or are under investigation. Cardinals coach Rick Pitino was fired in part because of the scandal. Isaiah Whitehead’s name surfaced as well.

The case has revived the debate that college athletes should be paid ... and whether the FBI should be probing college athletics in an era of limited resources.

An elite shooter, the 6’7” Bowen is a former McDonald’s All-American who was ranked 14th best player in the U.S. by ESPN last season. Multiple NBA executives told ESPN that they currently project Bowen as a second-round pick, but they also said it’s difficult to gauge because they hadn’t seen him play in more than a year when he was a high school star in Indiana.

Bowen denied knowledge of the payment arrangement and transferred to South Carolina after the scandal broke but the NCAA has yet to rule on his eligibility. So in the meantime he’s working out for NBA teams. Sneaker companies have long paid benefits to the families of top prospects to get access to them before they begin their pro careers. The family of Marvin Bagley III, the Duke center who’s projected as the overall No. 1 pick, also received significant benefits from Nike, according to reports.

Bowen is one of a number of intriguing possibilities worked out by the Nets so far. Among the others is Bruno Fernando, Maryland’s 6’10” power forward who’s projected as the No. 2 pick in 2019 Draft but is testing the waters now. We hope to have a partial list of who’s worked out this weekend as part of the NetsDaily Off-Season Report.