menu close twitter facebook snapchat instagram youtube article basketball gallery graph left-arrow right-arrow search star trophy video net clipboard shield-check shield-star stopwatch filter reset Share




Shop Now USA Basketball
Brian Bowen II

Brian Bowen II Embraces the Roller Coaster Ride He’s Taken to USA Basketball

  • Author:
    Steve Drumwright, Red Line Editorial
  • Date:
    Feb 26, 2022



Sometimes, the road less traveled is a better path, regardless of whether you recognize it in the moment. 


For Brian Bowen II, the path that has taken him to where he is today wasn’t what he had in mind back in high school as one of the nation’s top recruits. 


The 6-foot-6 guard from Saginaw, Michigan, and his USA teammates are in the midst of the second window of first-round qualifying for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.


“It’s definitely been a roller coaster,” said Bowen, 23. “One of the most wild roller coasters you can think of, that’s what it’s been.”


Bowen was part of the November qualifying window that saw the U.S. go 1-1 against Cuba and Mexico in Group D. In this window, the Americans defeated Puerto Rico (1-2) 93-76 on Feb. 24 and will meet Mexico (3-0) on Feb. 27 (1 p.m. EST) in Washington, D.C. A third and final window takes place in June and July to determine which three teams in Group D advance to the second round of qualifying.


To get here, Bowen had to rebuild his career after recruiting violations led to him never playing a game of college basketball. Instead of of playing collegiately for one of the NCAA’s blue-blood programs, the former five-star recruit, who attended La Lumiere School in Indiana, led the team to 29-1 record and to the 2015 national championship at the Dick's Sporting Goods high school tournament, headed to play professionally in the Australian National Basketball League, where he played for the Sydney Kings in 2018-19. 


Hoping for a shot at the NBA, Bowen returned to the U.S. and played in the NBA G League for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for two seasons (2019-21)and the Iowa Wolves this season.


He realized his dream of playing in the NBA, seeing action in 12 games over two stints with the Indiana Pacers. Not exactly how Bowen had mapped it out, but it’s been an experience he believes was ultimately beneficial.


“It’s made me a totally different person,” said Bowen, who is averaging 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in his G League career. “It’s helped my mentality a lot. I definitely have come on stronger, and it’s helped me for the better for sure.”


Though the journey so far hasn’t looked like he expected, Bowen said he still has dreams he wants to achieve. One of them is playing for USA Basketball. In high school, he was invited to the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team training camp but was not selected to the team that played in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. So, when he got the call from Sean Ford, USA Basketball’s men’s national team director, for the USA World Cup Qualifying Team last fall, there was no doubt he would jump at the opportunity.


“It means a lot, man,” Bowen said. “Just to have this opportunity, this experience to be able to represent my country and help for the future, obviously the World Cup and everything. There’s a lot that goes into it, and I felt proud after I finished the last camp and I felt great about the experience and opportunity.”


In the first World Cup Qualifying window in November, Bowen came off the bench in both games to average 10.0 points,and team-highs in rebounds (6.5) and blocks (2.0). He shot 53.8% rom the field, including 44.4% from 3-point range.


More than that, though, Bowen said he really listened to what USA head coach Jim Boylen and assistants Ty Ellis and Othella Harrington told him. That same staff returns in this window.


“They all gave me different advice,” Bowen said. “But overall, the main thing was just being aggressive, honestly, on both ends of the floor. The other thing I did well was display my versatility and I want to continue to do that.”


While Bowen has some international experience, what he experienced when the U.S. played in the first window in Chihuahua, Mexico, was at another level. The fans likely played a role in host Mexico’s 97-88 win over the U.S.


“It was one of the best crowds as far as how engaged they were and how loud it was from what I've played in,” Bowen said. “I really enjoyed it. A different experience for sure. When you’re playing in a team’s home country, it’s totally different — the passion that the fans show, that the players show. You just feel the adrenaline, the rush and everything. It’s definitely a unique feeling that you can only feel if you’re in that moment. It was great.”



Steve Drumwright is a journalist based in Murrieta, California. He is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.



Related Videos

Take a peek inside a USA Basketball Coach Academy!

Learn how to work on your dribbling on the move!

Work on your dribbling skills with friends and teammates, taking turns using each other as human cones!

Learn some foundational skills on how to utilize a crossover dribble on the move.

The 2022 USA National Team spent a week in Washington, D.C., training ahead of the FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament, where the USA went 2-0 in games against Belgium and Puerto Rico.

Related Content

USA Basketball today announced 17 finalists for the 2022 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team following three days of training camp in Houston.

USA Basketball announced 27 athletes expected to participate at the 2022 USA Basketball Men’s U18 FIBA Americas Championship National Team training camp from May 26-June 2 in Houston.

  • Author:
    Steve Drumwright, Red Line Editorial
  • Date:
    May 25, 2022

Leading into the 2022 summer circuit of competition, men’s national team director Sean Ford and women’s national team director Briana Weiss are responsible for bringing together players and building rosters for each five-on-five tournament in which USA Basketball competes.



The USA Basketball Foundation announced a Torch Leadership Program to empower students at minority-serving institutions in sport through one-on-one mentoring and other opportunities with USA Basketball executive staff.

USA Basketball today announced 31 athletes expected to participate at the 2022 USA Basketball WU18 National Team trials at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center. Trials begin May 31 with the 12-member team expected to be announced June 3 with competition at the 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship in Buenos Aires from June 13-19.

Coach Licensing & Organization Accreditation Login

Forgot Password?