5-star Flowers leaving L’ville for Australia’s NBL

Trentyn Flowers, a five-star recruit in the class of 2023, has decommitted from Louisville and will sign with the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League in Australia, he told ESPN on Monday.

“This was the toughest decision I’ve ever made,” Flowers said. “Louisville was my dream college. But I feel like signing in the NBL gives me the best chance to lock in and develop my game. I’m going over there to play point guard, to learn how to run a team, and be a player like LaMelo Ball or Josh Giddey. Adelaide is a place for me to lock in and focus on my game.”

Flowers, ESPN’s No. 18-ranked prospect, was originally a member of the 2024 high school class but elected to graduate early and enroll at Louisville this summer. He has been practicing with the team since June.

Louisville is coming off a 4-28 season, the program’s worst since at least World War II, marking an auspicious start to Kenny Payne’s tenure at the helm for the Cardinals. After Payne rebuilt almost the entire roster, Flowers’ move is a surprising and unexpected decision that comes at an inopportune moment of the calendar, as he will be difficult to replace with very few recruiting options available.

Payne said as much in a statement released to media Monday afternoon.

“Earlier today, Trentyn and his family informed me of his decision to pursue a professional career overseas,” Payne said. “We’re certainly disappointed in his decision and the timing. We fully believe in the University of Louisville’s ability to help student-athletes reach their goals, including to play at the highest levels of professional basketball — and we’re confident that Trentyn could have achieved his dreams by making Louisville his home. However, we wish Trentyn and his family well in all of their future endeavors.”

While acknowledging the difficult timing, Flowers said he wishes no ill will on Louisville.

“This decision was the best for me and my basketball career,” Flowers said. “I love Kenny Payne, [assistant coach] Nolan Smith and Louisville basketball. The timing wasn’t the best, but it was the best step for me and my game. I can only move on and make the best of what I decided. Anyone that says I made the wrong decision — I feel otherwise.”

Flowers, who measured just under 6-foot-8 by USA Basketball in June, reiterated that the opportunity that was presented to him, as “the starting point guard” for an NBL team in Adelaide, was one he could not turn down, along with the platform.

“They want me to come in and run the team,” Flowers said. “Adelaide is fully bought into me being the player and person I am. When things align like that, it’s a recipe for success. I grew up playing point guard, it’s my natural position and something I’m very comfortable with.”

The NBL has made an aggressive push this offseason in expanding its Next Stars program. Flowers is the eighth player to join the league-sponsored program, which signs players to contracts and then assigns them to individual teams. Flowers will join several projected draft picks in French big man Alex Sarr (Perth Wildcats), American guard A.J. Johnson (Illawarra Hawks), Swedish wing Bobi Klintman (Cairns Taipans), Lithuanian wing Mantas Rubstavicius (New Zealand Breakers) and 2025 draft candidate Rocco Zikarsky (Brisbane Bullets), who hails from Australia. The league is expected to be heavily scouted by NBA teams due to the influx of talent it has seen this offseason.

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and international teams.

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