The Texas Longhorns added a much-needed interior presence to the 2016 basketball recruiting class on Thursday with the pledge of La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere School center James Banks:
Hook'Em Horns!! pic.twitter.com/cYBWQAjxH3— ⬆️Next (@32jbanks) October 8, 2015
A consensus four-star prospect, the 6'10, 230-pounder is the No. 56 player nationally, the No. 5 center, and the No. 2 player in Indiana, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Banks held 23 offers prior to his pledge, including Auburn, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Memphis, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee, USC, and Vanderbilt.
The Commodores were considered the biggest competition for the Horns and in fact held a sizable lead for Banks in the 247Sports Crystal Ball. Banks took an official visit to Austin in late August and then traveled to Nashville in early September.
However, it was his relationship with new Texas head coach Shaka Smart that eventually won out, according to 247Sports.
"Coach Smart and his staff were genuine throughout the recruiting process about wanting to coach me, mentor me and make me better," Banks said. "He mentioned that they cared about me, and that was a big thing along with great academics and basketball, and it's a great opportunity at every aspect."
As a good athlete capable of running the floor, Banks fits Smart's preferred style of play and also possesses solid touch on his jumpshot. With some natural strength and a projectable frame, he is a physical presence around the rim who can block or alter shots. However, he doesn't have much of a post-up game and isn't an explosive finisher.
Since Banks is still relatively new to the game, there's some significant upside left for him as he continues to add refinement to his game.
Banks is the second pledge for Texas in the 2016 recruiting class, joining point guard Jacob Young.