-- LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Former Louisville recruit Brian Bowen, one of the key figures in an FBI investigation into college basketball, denies having any knowledge of an alleged payment involving Adidas, Louisville and his father to steer him to the Cardinals.
"I was shocked," Bowen told ESPN's Jeff Goodman on Thursday about when he found out he was involved in the FBI investigation. "I didn't believe it at all. ... They have to be lying. There's no way I'm involved in it."
"I don't know anything about it," he added.
Federal documents allege that Adidas funneled $100,000 to an unnamed player, later identified as Bowen, to sign with Louisville at the request of a Cardinals coach. The FBI says Bowen's father, Brian Bowen Sr., accepted the money.
The investigation into the Louisville program resulted in the firing of coach Rick Pitino in October.
Bowen explained that the reason he didn't commit to Louisville until early June of this past year was because he had previously told Arizona head coach Sean Miller that he was coming to Tucson - as long as either Allonzo Trier or Rawle Alkins left early for the NBA. Trier opted to return, and then Alkins announced he was coming back to Arizona in late-May.
"I had pretty much told Sean Miller that I was going to come if one of those guys leave," Bowen said. "It didn't happen."
Bowen said that former Louisville assistant Wyking Jones offered him a scholarship back when he was a freshman in high school, but that the Cardinals interest fell off after Jones left for California. Louisville then got back involved this past summer when he was still available late in the process.
"No one pressured me to go to Louisville or any other school," Bowen said. "I made the ultimate decision."
Bowen said he hasn't spoken to his father about what happened in detail.
"I prefer not to talk about it, and he respects that," Bowen said. "We just don't talk about the situation at all."
Bowen said he is still in disbelief that his father took any money.
"I really didn't believe it. I still don't believe it," he said. "All these allegations, so many stories. My mind has been everywhere. This has been rough."
"Our love for each other has grown," Bowen added. "We're closer than ever."
"His dad has been very cooperative with respect to the ongoing investigation, Bowen Sr.'s attorney, Tony Ricco, told ESPN.? "He's turned over all his phone and bank records, and whether the US attorney's office is ultimately going to prosecute hasn't been made yet."
Ricco said that a meeting is scheduled in January between the dad and the US Attorney in which he said Bowen Sr., will voluntarily appear.
Bowen was suspended from the Louisville men's basketball program shortly after the news broke of the investigation, and the school declined to seek reinstatement with the NCAA.
"I was upset. Like, completely upset. Like, they just, you know, left me out to dry, honestly. That's really how I felt."
Bowen made it clear his goal remains to play college basketball.
"My biggest thing is that I want to play college basketball," Bowen said. "There are other routes I can go. I could go play in Spain or Australia or in Lithuania with the Ball brothers. But my dream was to play college basketball.
"I feel like I'm a victim because of greedy adults."
Bowen's lawyer, Jason Setchen, told ESPN that there hasn't been much interest shown in recruiting Bowen.
"The interest by schools has been tepid at best," Setchen told ESPN. "That's because schools don't have any guidance by the NCAA. My hope ultimately is if a school will believe in Brian and give him an opportunity, the NCAA will ultimately see this for what it is and reinstate him."