Bowen was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1998. Bowen started his high school basketball career in Saginaw playing for Arthur Hill High School. In 2015, he transferred to La Lumiere School in La Porte, Indiana. In 2017, Bowen averaged 22 points per game as a senior. He also led La Lumiere to a national championship at the Dick's Sporting Goods high school tournament. After that senior season, Bowen was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American Game and competed in the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic, where he was named co-MVP after scoring 26 points. His nickname is "Tugs," and he can be followed on Twitter (@tugs_) and Instagram (t.u.g.s).