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Did Rick Pitino just pull off the Recruiting Shocker of the Century?

Mike Stocker | Sun Sentinel

When Kevin Knox committed to Kentucky minutes after the Kentucky Derby, the Big Blue Nation was shocked.  John Calipari had relentlessly recruited Knox for months, so there was at least a sliver of hope he could come to Kentucky, albeit highly unlikely.  What Rick Pitino (maybe) just did is even crazier.

Brian Bowen is a five-star McDonald’s All-American who helped lead La Lumiere to a National Championship.  Unlike most recruits, the Top 20 prospect had no firm list of leaders.  From DePaul and Creighton, to Oregon, Michigan State, Arizona and Texas, his list didn’t shrink after the McDonald’s game, it grew.  Louisville was not even in the picture until Drew Deener reported Tuesday that he took an unofficial visit to Louisville over the week.  Now this:

As of yesterday, a Brian Bowen enrolled at the University of Louisville.  Jeff Greer reports Tugs (yes, that’s what people call him) has not yet signed financial aid papers.  Bowen announced on Twitter he will officially Tweet his decision tomorrow at 4:00.

At almost the last possible minute, Pitino picked up his highest-ranked recruit since fourth-ranked Samardo Samuels signed in 2008.  What does Pitino’s best player in a decade mean for the Cardinals, and more importantly, for their matchup with Kentucky?

1. Pitino has to figure out how to play with Freshmen

After losing Donovan Mitchell and Jaylen Johnson, he has found formidable replacements in Malik Williams and a combination of Bowen and Darius Perry on the wing.  He’ll have the No. 6 class in America, his best ever at Louisville, but can he do anything with them?

Mitchell, Terry Rozier, Motrezl Harrell and many more hardly contributed until their sophomore seasons.  Even with Deng Adel back, he has to be able to play Williams, Perry and Bowen, a sure-fire one-and-done.  Tom Izzo bit off more than he could chew last year with one-and-dones and I’d be shocked if Pitino doesn’t do the same with this year’s talented group of freshmen.

2. Cal and Pitino’s Teams Look Alike

I spent last night in a text-chain with my UofL-fan friends.  Naturally, they were extremely excited, ready to say there’s no way Kentucky can compete with Louisville’s length.  In fact, Cal and Rick both have good problems on the wing.  Here’s who they’ll play in the two/three spots:

  • Kentucky: Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, Jarred Vanderbilt, P.J. Washington
  • Louisville: V.J. King, Deng Adel, Brian Bowen

Kentucky has three guys who are probably at their best playing the three-spot; the same goes for Louisville.  Cal and Rick must stretch a few guys out to the two at times, and into the post at the four at times.  It will make this year’s game at Rupp Arena one of the most interesting matchups since Calipari arrived at Kentucky.

3. We get to make fun of Bowen’s Hair

Just look at it.  It couldn’t possibly be any worse.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

29 Comments for Did Rick Pitino just pull off the Recruiting Shocker of the Century?

  1. BigBlue4EverUK
    1:58 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    Great pickup for them, he is a good player. Don’t think he is a one and done player maybe couple years. They will need all the help they can get against us this season

    • Sentient Third Eye
      2:27 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

      Playing for Rick he won’t be one-and-done. It infamously takes a full season just to learn Pitino’s system, so he’s just about required to be a two-year guy.

    • catdaddyd
      12:51 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      So he will be there to watch the banner come down.

  2. ClutchCargo
    2:06 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    Bowen, with that hair, kind of looks like that nut job that shot up the movie theater in Colorado a year or two ago.

  3. bigtaters6957
    2:10 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    I remember when Slick Rick told VJ King he would play him and he would be a one and done. Unless this kid can shoot, he’s just 5 more fouls for Rick this year.

    • ABthetruth502
      2:09 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

      Rick Never told Vj he would be a one and done. Funny you need to make up shit just to have a dumb comment lol

  4. BBaxterUK
    2:13 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    Does it really even matter? It’s probably a different guy anyways. With one Bowen or 2 Bowen’s UK will still beat them in Dec.

  5. runningunnin.454
    2:16 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    I don’t remember him from the McD game, so I looked him up.
    1-6 shooting, 3 points, 1 rebound, and 1 asst in 14 minutes are not exactly memorable.

    • timbo
      3:53 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

      He was also the MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic (virtually the same roster) with 90-something% shooting and 7-8 from three. He’s legit top 5-10 in the class. Don’t hate. It’s okay to admit little bro has a good team and still desire to crush them like the cockroaches they are.

    • Eazy
      6:18 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

      He is ranked 18th in the class on the site I looked at. More a top 20 than top 10 player. Still great for UL though.

    • ABthetruth502
      2:14 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

      His HS team winning the national title and him being the premiere scorer on that team is pretty memorable.

  6. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    2:28 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    Biggest recruiting shocker of the century? Geez man you sure about that statement? Kids is a solid player but hes not anything super special.

  7. The Seer
    2:54 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    Regarding the hair, it COULD be worse.

    Insert image of LaMelo Ball here….

  8. 8xchamp
    2:58 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    He’ll transfer, or he isn’t any good

  9. gobble gobble
    3:16 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    Nick, you have the absolute worst opinions… “recruiting shocker of the century”??!! Calm down, buddy. Also, this is a UK sports site, not UL sports. Smh

    3:29 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    The kid is obviously in to hookers and not worried about his future. Headline is a riot, it’s not like he doesn’t come with issues. Why do you think he’s still available. He’ll fit right in. Another problem for them.

  11. RealCatsFan
    3:53 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    I think I have an explanation for all this:
    HO’s IN THE DORMS!!!
    HO’s IN THE DORMS!!!
    HO’s IN THE DORMS!!!
    HO’s IN THE DORMS!!!
    HO’s IN THE DORMS!!!

    Rick must have busted out a few 20’s for this one! 😀

  12. TBW3011
    3:56 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    There is a reason a kid this talented wasn’t wanted by the usual suspects. Watching him and Rick try to co-exist will be hilarious. Cal, K, etc wouldn’t touch this kid with a 10 foot pole. And don’t get me wrong, he’s good enough to play ANYWHERE, but not worth the headache. He fits right where he went.

    • JASUN74
      4:31 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

      I’ve never heard anything bad about the kid myself, but he seems to be a very smart player who plays hard and his teams win. I kinda wanted him to become a cat and always wondered why we didn’t recruit him as a two or three year guy. That said, I’m very excited about our guys and wouldn’t trade anyone we have for him. Can’t wait till December to beat the —- out of Louisville. Lol

  13. BiasedBigfoot
    4:20 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    He looks exactly like a U of L player.

  14. 4everblue
    6:13 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    Hos for bros….

  15. EdC
    7:19 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    He looked great in the Jordan Brand Classic but I really came to the comments to see the comments about “Pitino has to figure out how to play with Freshmen” but no takers.

  16. lexfan
    7:53 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    That scandal really derailed recruiting. This is probably his best class. I think there will be another shock in rupp.

  17. Cardsman247
    11:03 pm June 2, 2017 Permalink

    Sounds like big blue nation may be worried….lol…i guess I would be too if I had beat on my chest about 8 straight top 5 classes only to win 1 championship….hey bbn….lets compare notes at the end of this season…ricks first top 8 class since 2013…that resulted in a championship…insert stripper joke here but the real joke is you guys paying a top notch recruiter that can’t coach……..give Rick those same teams and he would have 5 national titles instead of 1……

  18. ABthetruth502
    2:05 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Louisville also has Jordan Nwora, and Dwayne Sutton as possible 2-3 spot. Also we will start 2 Srs and 2 Jr’s. A stretch from looking like Uk’s roster

    • gobble gobble
      11:42 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

      You wish UL’s roster looked like UK’s

  19. BigBlueBass
    7:08 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Louisville recruiting news on a UK site…. absolutely ignorant…. who cares.?!??????!!!