2022-23 Bowman University Inception Review: Wembanyama Autos Arrive

May 16, 2023

Bowman University Inception releases on May 19, 2023 at $175/box and brings collectors their first chance at getting licensed Victor Wembanyama rookie autographs. Even if you miss Wemby, this multi-sport product from Topps has a long list of young superstars with autograph potential, so it’s worth a look. 

Here’s what we know. 

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2022-23  Bowman University Inception product introduction 

Fanatics/Topps is getting the one-up over Panini with this rollout, showing that it pays not to be six months behind on release schedules

By being the first to market with Victor Wembanyama rookie autographs, Topps is all but guaranteeing this will be a hot product, at least early on. And with the license to use Wembanyama’s Metropolitans 92 team logo, the Wembanyama cards look… awesome. There, I said it. 

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Bowman University Inception is a mulit-sport box that combines basketball and football, including recent NFL draft picks, soon-to-be-drafted NBA prospects, and more. 

This is probably not a long-term investment of a box, especially when Panini finally rolls out licensed NBA rookie cards, but if you want to be the first to market with a Wemby rookie autograph, this $179 box is worth the roll of the dice. 

This is the first year of Bowman University Inception, but the close comp is Bowman Chrome University Basketball, which launched for the first time in 2021-22. That box, which was pre-ordering for around $200, now resells for less than $50. Keep that in mind as you consider buying these to hold… and don’t do that.  

Still, this will be the first licensed autograph card of Victor Wembanyama. This product has a pretty deep checklist, too, also including Caitlin Clark, Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller, Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, Hendon Hooker, Caleb Williams, and more. 

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That said, note that you have very slim odds of pulling a Wemby rookie. While this product has base cards and several autograph sets, the only card of Wembanyama is the base autograph, which will be either numbered to /99, 75, /50, /50, /25, /5 or /1.

In other words, there are 305 total autographs of Wembanyama throughout this entire product and he doesn’t have a base card.

Topps is definitely stretching his cards, but at least they’re not flooding the market. 

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What to expect from 2022-23  Bowman University Inception

Bowman University Inception is a small box, with only 7 cards. At $175/box, that’s a pretty high price-per-card, but not as risky as some. 

What’s in each box? Per Topps, expect to find

  • 2 Autographs or Auto Relics
  • 1 Base Parallel

The base parallels are numbered as follows, but most of the autograph sets have very similar numbering. 


  • Green Foil – #/299 (1:4 boxes)
  • Aqua Foil V1 – #/199 (1:6 boxes)
  • Aqua Foil V2 – #/199 (1:6 boxes)
  • Blue Foil V1 – #/99 (1:12 boxes)
  • Blue Foil V2 – #/99 (1:12 boxes)
  • Fuchsia Foil – #/75 (1:16 boxes)
  • Gold Foil V1 #/50 (1:23 boxes)
  • Gold Foil V2 – #/50 (1:23 boxes)
  • Orange Foil – #/25 (1:46 boxes)
  • Black Foil – #/10 (1:113 boxes)
  • Red Foil V1 – #/5 (1:225 boxes)
  • Red Foil V2 – #/5 (1:225 boxes)
  • FoilFractor – 1/1 (1:1,110 boxes)
  • Printing Plates – 1/1 (1:281 boxes)


  • Blue #/99 (1:7)
  • Fuchsia #/75 (1:9)
  • Gold V1 #/50 (1:12)
  • Gold V2 #/50 (1:12)
  • Orange #/25 (1:24)
  • Red #/5 (1:116)
  • FoilFractor 1/1 (1:582).

Let’s take a look at the athletes and sets featured. 

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2022-23 Bowman University Basketball checklist and cards

While you don’t have great odds of a Wembanyama pull, there’s still a lot of great potential.

Bowman University Inception contains rookie autographs of the top 5 quarterbacks from the 2023 NFL draft, the top 3 NBA prospects for 2023-24’s rookie class, plus the likely #1 NFL pick in 2024, Caleb Williams. And Caitlin Clark, to top it off.  

While this mixed-sport release is a little unusual, there’s no denying the talent therein. Still, the base rookie set is 190 cards deep and there are probably only a dozen or so names that could pay off the box with a nice pull.

So there’s a lot of top talent, but there’s also a lot of cards that will be, ultimately, a disappointing pull. Study the checklist before buying it.

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Autograph sets include:

  • Base autographs set (190 cards)
  • Short Print Inception Autographs Set (5 cards) 
  • Bowman U Top of the Class Autographs Set (32 Cards)
  • Bowman University Class Of 2023 Die-Cut Autographs (64 cards – all 1/1)
  • Primordial Prospect Autographs Set (31 cards – case hits)
  • Inception Autograph Jumbo Relics Set (38 cards)
  • Inception Autograph Nameplate Books Set (15 cards)
  • Inception Dual Autograph Relics Set (30 cards)

Again, here’s a reminder that there are 8 autograph sets and you’ll only pull Wemby autographs in the base set. Just keep expectations low, folks. 

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Investing in Bowman University Inception

At $175 per box, is this a good investment opportunity?

Given how most of the Bowman U products have crashed in price, there’s not an amazing case to be made for investing in this one. I mentioned earlier that the Bowman University basketball dropped from $200 to $50 over a year’s time, but football suffered too – it was released at $250 and is reselling for less than $100 now.

Even with an absolute superstar lineup of rookie autographs, it’s hard to imagine this product gaining much value over time as NFL and NBA-licensed brands release to compete against it. If anything, we can hope this brand hovers around release price, at best


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Investing in sealed product

Given the drop of the 2021-22 basketball and football boxes, which both lost over half of their pre-order value over the last year, there’s no way we can recommend investing in this sealed product.

That said, there’s a chance there’s a temporary jump in price for University Inception. I don’t have any historical data to support this, but when collectors realize Wembanyama rookies have released and see how much they’re selling for when the first couple set eBay on fire, it wouldn’t be too big of a surprise if this product jumps short-term before slowly falling back to earth.

I wouldn’t buy to flip, but a short-term spike is something to at least consider. 

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Buying sealed products is a long-term investment, and college cards are never going to be a good long-term hold since the NBA-licensed cards will come out before you’re ready to flip what you own. It’s an easy stay-away for long-term holds.

Investing in 2022-23 Bowman University Inception rookies

I also wrote this in my Bowman University Chrome Basketball review, but there’s a 0.1% chance that when Fanatics becomes the NBA-licensed cards and takes over from Panini, somehow these Bowman 1st cards become very collectible, like Bowman baseball, and prospect cards are suddenly worth vast sums of money.

Don’t count on it. My gut (and the dismal performance from autos in the previous year of this product) tells me that Bowman University Chrome basketball is a stay-away for long-term rookie investing, too. 

If anything, this product is a short-term rip. That’s the best move, and why the team at CardLines decided to open some and get in on the fun. 

If you go in hoping to pull a Wemby, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re hoping to hit a nice rookie auto, it could be a great time. 

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Bottom line: Not a long-term hold, but the star power makes it a fun, affordable rip 

At less than $200, Bowman University Inception is the rare product we recommend as a rip. It offers some monster pulls if you’re exceptionally lucky, and if not, at least you’re not out hundreds of dollars.

If you’re lucky enough to hit a nice Wemby, it could be life-changing. Even if not, there’s a slew of top NFL rookie QBs and future NBA draft picks to chase. 

Of course, a financial advisor (even one that’s pro-sports cards) would say this box should be avoided, and it really should be, but if you want to roll the dice and rip this affordable box while chasing the first auto of a generational talent, then go right ahead. Just don’t spend anything you can’t afford to lose. 

What do you think of this product? What will it be worth in 5 years? Let us know on Twitter @card_lines and sign up for our free newsletter right here. 

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