Shaka Smart has his replacement for former five-star prospect Jarrett Allen, as the Texas Longhorns landed the nation’s No. 2 player and No. 1 power forward in Westchester (Penn.) Westtown’s Mohamed Bamba in a massive announcement on Thursday morning.
Shortly thereafter, Bamba faxed in his National Letter of Intent to the Longhorns basketball offices:
Center Mo Bamba, the No. 3 player on 2017 ESPN 100, signs with Texas.— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) May 18, 2017
One of the last prospects in the 2017 class to make his decision, the 7’0, 216-pounder shocked the basketball recruiting world in making his choice public in a post on The Players’ Tribune, choosing Texas over college basketball blue bloods like Duke and Kentucky.
“When all was said and done, one school filled my decision jar the best,” Bamba wrote.
“I’ve decided to attend the University of Texas. I will be heading there in early June to get to work.”
From Smart to the McCombs School of Business — the “big rocks” — to “stones” like the strength and conditioning program and skill development to “pebbles” like the weather in Austin, Bamba’s pledge was the result of a number of factors.
“The world is bigger than 94 by 50 feet, and we all agreed that Texas offers me an exceptional opportunity to blaze my own trail on the basketball front with the comfort of knowing that no matter what happens, I’ve got an unrivaled support network to lean on for whenever the ball stops bouncing,” he wrote.
“You can’t put a price on that, but you can tie a lasso around it.”
Bamba is now the fifth member of an elite Longhorns recruiting class that ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 4 nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. And the class now has perfect balance — the point guard in Matt Coleman, the deadeye shooter in Jase Febres, the bouncy wing in Jericho Sims, and the complementary frontcourt player in Royce Hamm.
Smart is doing work on the recruiting trail and come next fall, it will be time for that work to translate to more wins on the hardwood.
All the pieces are in place.