Trentyn Flowers, one of Louisville men’s basketball’s top newcomers, is leaving program

When he committed to head coach Kenny Payne and the Louisville men’s basketball team in March, Trentyn Flowers labeled himself a “program changer.”.

Less than five months later, one of the most promising newcomers in Payne’s top-flight 2023 recruiting class is leaving the program without having suited up for the Cardinals.

Flowers, a 6-foot-8 guard/forward who had reclassified to enroll at Louisville a year ahead of schedule, announced Monday he will pursue an opportunity to play professional basketball with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League instead of spending the 2023-24 season at Louisville. Flowers is signing a two-year contract with the 36ers, according to a news release from the team.

Payne said in a statement that he learned of Flowers’ plan to leave the program Monday. The move came seven days before the start of fall classes.

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In a statement posted to his social media accounts, Flowers said the decision was not easy “because playing for Louisville was also a dream of mine.” He is choosing to take his game Down Under, he said, to “pour all of my focus and commitment” into pursuing a future in the NBA.

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“While my time at Louisville has been short, it has been an amazing experience and I can’t thank you all enough,” Flowers wrote. “The coaching staff has been very supportive and has helped me tremendously this summer, and playing alongside such tremendous players was really inspiring. The love and support the entire city has shown me is something I’ll never forget.”.

After making the announcement, Flowers posted on X, “I’m a point guard now let’s get that right.” It has since been deleted from his account, but Flowers later told ESPN he’s joining the 36ers “to play point guard, to learn how to run a team.”.

“The timing wasn’t the best, but it was the best step for me and my game,” said Flowers, a product of Combine Academy near Charlotte, North Carolina. “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 was among several players 6-6 or taller that Payne praised at the conclusion of summer workouts for their ability to rotate on the perimeter while also clocking minutes at forward. Incoming Illinois transfer Skyy Clark is the projected starting point guard, and Payne said redshirt sophomore Mike James has improved his ball-handling and shooting abilities so much that he now feels comfortable playing him anywhere from the one to the four.

With Flowers in line to play a crucial role on a roster featuring nine newcomers, Payne said he and his staff were “certainly disappointed in his decision and the timing.”.

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“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,” Payne said. “However, we wish Trentyn and his family well in all of their future endeavors.”.

A five-star prospect who ranked among the top 25 players in the Class of 2023 on the 247Sports Composite, Flowers verbally pledged to Louisville on March 17, 10 days after the worst season in modern program history came to an end. He picked the Cardinals over four schools that earned NCAA tournament berths — Alabama, Arkansas, Creighton and Kansas — and 2022 runner-up North Carolina.

Reach Louisville men’s basketball reporter Brooks Holton at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @brooksHolton.

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