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Brian Bowen Waiting to Sign National Letter of Intent

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5-star All-American following the path of Tyler Dorsey

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

5-star All-American Brian Bowen did NOT sign a National Letter of Intent. Tugs will play the waiting game, as the signing deadline concluded on Wednesday.

Tyler Dorsey made a similar move after his high school career ended. It’s actually a very intelligent choice for the individual prospect. However, a move like this can be frustrating for fans and coaches alike. Let me explain his upcoming timetable.

Since Bowen did not sign a NLI before the spring signing deadline, he can NOT sign with any program during the summer. He can ONLY verbally commit to a school, but he can not actually sign his National Letter of Intent until the fall semester begins.

This is a defensive move from an offensive juggernaut. It’s an insurance policy for Bowen. He is now protected.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional
Mr. March has a flair for the dramatic. We all witnessed his heroics on the grandest stage. However, some forgot that he did NOT sign a National Letter of Intent until the fall semester of his freshman campaign. Tyler Dorsey wanted insurance that the Duck situation would not change over the summer after building a solid relationship with Dana Altman and his staff.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

If Bowen signed with a school then changed his mind over the summer, the NCAA would penalize the player by forcing him to sit for the upcoming season. It would be similar to a redshirt or transfer year. The freshman would be unavailable for 2017-18.

By not signing, he can change his mind over the summer without fear of consequence.

Bowen can announce his choice at any time this summer. It will be considered a verbal commitment, but it’s not a binding contract. Tugs is leaving himself an “out” should a coach or player leave the program before his enrollment.

May 17 was the deadline for prospects to sign. May 24 is the deadline for college players to withdraw from the 2017 NBA Draft. Bowen could be waiting to see the final rosters for the 2017-18 season before he declares. It’s one of the most important decisions of his life, he is diligently taking his time.

Regardless, most coaches are going to leave a few scholarships aside for an occasion or player like this. Oregon’s head coach Dana Altman told me last month that he’s going to keep a few scholarships heading into the fall, as always. Just like Bowen, Altman likes having an insurance policy.

No elite brand is going to throw away an opportunity at a 5-star talent like Tugs. They will gladly await his decision, with the chance they’re chosen as his final destination.

Now, Bowen can enroll in school with the general student population to begin the fall semester. He will sign his NLI during the fall signing period, after presumably verbally committing over the summer. Once students begin to enroll in school, he can sign.

The Michigan native graduated with a 3.50 GPA from Lumiere School in La Porte, Indiana. His parents are very important to him and play a crucial role in his life. Bowen is surrounded by good people who have his best interest at heart. You can't fault that.

High School Basketball: 40th Annual McDonald's All-American Games
Mo Bamba (11) and MJ Walker (24) are following in the footsteps of Brian Bowen by not signing a National Letter of Intent. Bowen and company can wait until the fall semester to enroll, but can verbally commit at any time over the summer. Tyler Dorsey made a similar move in 2015.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Dorsey made his verbal commitment to Oregon during the spring of 2015. Yet, he refused to sign anything until he arrived on campus the following fall semester. Fortunately, nothing changed that summer to derail Dorsey from becoming a Duck.

BB’s list is continually changing. Apparently, Oregon is leading the pack with DePaul on their heels. Michigan State and Arizona are never out of any race. Meanwhile, the sleeping giant is Creighton. After witnessing Brandon McCoy choose UNLV over the first three, we know anything is possible with elite prospects.

A few of Bowen’s teammates from the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic have joined him. Mo Bamba, MJ Walker and Tremont Waters decided against signing before the deadline on Wednesday, as well. This will allow more flexibility for those players and their families.

Regardless, the timetable for Bowen’s decision has expanded greatly in the last 24 hours. We are on his schedule now. This should be an interesting summer.

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