Brian Bowen Sr. Says He Received Cash from Ex-Louisville Assistant Kenny Johnson

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2018

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Brian Bowen of the Kings watches on during the NBL pre-season match between the Illawarra Hawks and the Sydney Kings at WIN Entertainment Centre on September 16, 2018 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The father of former Louisville Cardinals recruit Brian Bowen II said former Louisville assistant coach Kenny Johnson arranged a $1,300 payment in order to secure Bowen's commitment to the Cardinals.

ESPN.com's Paula Lavigne and Jeff Borzello reported Tuesday that federal prosecutors shared text message exchanges between Johnson and Brian Bowen Sr. regarding the payment.

"In a text message on Aug. 23, 2017, Bowen Sr. asks Johnson if he wants to 'get together to square up,' and Johnson responded, 'OK, call you later on,'" Lavigne and Borzello wrote. "Bowen Sr. testified that Johnson came to his residence and he met him in the car, where the $1,300 was exchanged."

Bowen's testimony came as part of a federal trial regarding corruption in college basketball. Prosecutors say former agent Christian Dawkins, Adidas executive James Gatto and former Adidas consultant Merl Code worked together to get blue-chip recruits to sign with Adidas-endorsed schools.

ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach reported in September 2017 that authorities said Gatto, Dawkins and others had agreed to direct $100,000 total to the family of one recruit, whom Schlabach wrote was likely Brian Bowen II.

The younger Bowen said in December he had no knowledge of the plan.

Lavigne and Borzello reported Bowen Sr. said other schools attempted to skirt NCAA rules in order to sign his son:

"At the start of Bowen Sr.'s testimony last week, he implicated four assistant coaches who he said Dawkins told him were offering money or other improper benefits for his son. They ranged from an offer to 'help me with housing' from Texas assistant coach Mike Morrell, a $50,000 offer from Arizona assistant coach Joe Pasternack, to an offer of $100,000 and 'a lucrative job' from Creighton assistant coach Preston Murphy, and an offer of $150,000 cash from Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans."

Earlier in the trial, Gatto's attorney said 2017 recruit Silvio De Sousa and 2018 recruit Nassir Little had received cash offers as well before they signed with the Kansas Jayhawks and North Carolina Tar Heels, respectively.

Bowen never played a game for Louisville. He left the school and transferred to South Carolina in January. Facing the prospect of missing the entire 2018-19 season while the NCAA examined his eligibility, Bowen entered the 2018 NBA draft pool, eventually withdrawing from the draft and signing with the Sydney Kings of Australia's National Basketball League.

Louisville fired Johnson in November amid the FBI's investigation. Prior to that, the school had fired athletic director Tom Jurich and head coach Rick Pitino.

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