LA PORTE, Ind. - Brian Bowen has a conundrum on his hands.
Last month the five-star wing from La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind., cut his list to 12. Arizona, Michigan State, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Oregon, UCLA, Creighton, Kansas, UNLV, N.C. State and Texas made the cut.
Notre Dame offered Bowen during the spring but obviously didn’t make that list. Yet the coaching staff wasn’t willing to let up. Mike Brey and assistant Ryan Humphrey have continued to work.
“It really is hard honestly for them to jump back in and to talk to me heavy about everything,” Bowen said. “It is hard. But I’m managing that. I have to set it equally right now, listen to what they have to say as well and see what happens going on.”
Bowen has, at the very least, been listening. Persistence from the coaching staff helped bring Bowen to campus, which is about 40 minutes from La Lumiere, for a visit last weekend with both parents.
Despite not being on the official list, Bowen hasn’t nixed the Irish just yet.
“I’m still looking at them,” Bowen said. “After that list, they’ve called me constantly after that. Just seeing where my head was at and everything. I went down to the school and they have a pretty good pitch from what they said. They just got a commitment from D.J. (Harvey), so that’s good for their recruiting and everything. We’re really gonna see. I’m not really sure what’s gonna go forward but I enjoyed myself.”
During the trip, Bowen played pickup with current players plus some former Irish standouts back in town for the football weekend. Demetrius Jackson, Jerian Grant, Pat Connaughton and Zach Auguste were all around.
Brey and Humphrey also helped drive home one of their main points: There’s still need on the wings and Bowen could fit right into the mix.
V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia both graduate after this season. D.J. Harvey is currently Notre Dame’s only commitment in the Class of 2017. Adding at least one more wing — Bowen joins four-star guard Darryl Morsell as a top target — is a priority.
“Just the spot as far as the position is what they’re really gonna need,” Bowen said of the recruiting pitch. “They have good guys coming out like V.J., they’re gonna be gone. It’s a pretty good spot and everything. They really stressed that a lot.”
Notre Dame followed up by sending Humphrey to La Lumiere on Wednesday for the program’s first “combine day.” Players ran through testing then scrimmaged in front of more than 35 college coaches.
Sean Miller (Arizona), John Groce (Illinois), John Beilein (Michigan) and Steve Wojciechowski (Marquette) were among the head coaches in attendance. Dozens of other major programs had at least one assistant on hand.
Bowen wants to let some of those coaches know where things stand shortly.
“Once I cut my list is when I'm gonna start thinking about everything,” Bowen said. “I’m gonna cut it to six then from there I’m gonna go to five. It all depends what my family thinks as well, who’s gonna have the biggest impact on my game and help me get to the next level, my next goal. It’s a lot to think about.”
Chopping the list again is the next step. Bowen then wants to start setting official visits. In terms of a commitment, there’s no firm date or timeline.
“I’m not really sure,” Bowen said. “It all depends. I’ll set my visits and whenever I feel good about a school, like 100 percent about a school, is when I’m gonna make a decision. I don’t have a specific, I wanna make it at this time or this time.”