Shaka Smart Nabs Top Recruit Mo Bamba

After a disappointing 11-22 season, losing former five-star recruit Jarrett Allen to the NBA Draft was another blow to Texas men’s basketball. But Longhorn fans can peel themselves off their fainting couches with the revelation that head coach Shaka Smart is merely trading one outgoing freshman big man for an incoming one. This morning, seven-footer Mohamed Bamba, the No. 2 high school player in the country, announced his decision to enroll at Texas. Bamba announced his decision in a post on the Player’s Tribune, titled “Ready to Rock.”

Bamba credited Smart’s attention to detail and genuine care for the Westtown School (Pennsylvania) power forward and his family, mentioning that the third year Texas coach will “challenge me to be in a state of continuous improvement.” Bamba credits Smart and the Texas staff in Allen’s improvement in the way of footwork, passing, stretching the paint, and overall confidence. Smart won a fierce recruiting battle over powerhouse programs Kentucky and Duke, both helmed by master recruiters in John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski.

Though Bamba acknowledges that he is a “one-and-done” prospect, he is pursuing his BBA at the McCombs School of Business, and that both the academic prowess and alumni network at UT-Austin were major factors in his decision. He also shouted out the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation, and its affiliation with Kevin Durant, the city of Austin, and, of course, the central Texas weather. Bamba grew up in Harlem before transferring to the Philadelphia area.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to some sunshine after 19 years of New York and Philly winters!” he wrote.

Bamba will be on campus in early June, according to the blog post.

“I’m extremely excited that Mo has chosen Texas,” Smart said, in a statement. “He’s as unique a person and player as I’ve been around. Mo’s combination of talent, intellect and ability to impact others will make him a catalyst in our program and on our campus from day one.”


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