Lynn Bowden had a couple of college basketball coaches tell him they would have recruited him to play for their team but said it was “pointless” because they knew his heart was set on football.
That doesn’t mean the top-ranked prospect in the University of Kentucky’s 2017 football recruiting class would outright dismiss an opportunity to play college basketball. He’d be down for it if men’s basketball coach John Calipari came calling and football coach Mark Stoops said, “Okay” to him walking on.
“If Coach Stoops approved of that, I like to keep myself busy, so you can look out for it,” said Bowden, who was part of the Ohio roster for the Kentucky-Ohio All-Star game scheduled to take place later Saturday night at Thomas More College.
Bowden, a 6-foot-1 guard, was recruited as an “athlete” on the football field. The four-star recruit was ranked third in Ohio and 157th nationally in the latest rankings from 247Sports. He signed with UK on Feb. 1 and is expected to be used in a number of ways on offense when he gets to Lexington.
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What about his basketball game?
“I’m like an energizer person,” Bowden said. “Tonight you’ll see me lead. If we get down, I’ve got my head on like we’re winning. I’ve got a winning mentality.
A number of well-known athletes have played both basketball and football for their respective universities over the years, including current Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham while he was at Miami. Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones was a three-sport standout in baseball, basketball and football for UK in the 1940’s.
UK’s basketball team will return only one scholarship guard from this year’s team that lost to North Carolina in the Elite Eight: Hamadou Diallo, who redshirted after joining the Wildcats midseason. Shai Alexander and Quade Green are the only 2017 guards who have signed with UK, which in the past week has offered Pittsburgh transfer Cameron Johnson and Mark Smith, this year’s Mr. Basketball winner in Illinois.
“I like to stay active, so if that were to be something that happened, I would be happy about that too,” Bowden said of walking on for the men’s basketball team.
Whether he brings his energy to Rupp Arena or keeps it exclusive to Commonwealth Stadium, Bowden’s ready to take in the good vibes from UK’s fanbase.
“I know they get turned up,” Bowden said with a grin, “I’m the type of person to get turned up and I like that. I feed off the crowd energy.”