Mohamed Bamba is now officially the Texas Longhorns latest one-and-done.
On Tuesday, the Harlem, N.Y., native went public with what’s been expected since his arrival on the Forty Acres and declared for the 2018 NBA Draft.
“After an incredibly rewarding year at The University of Texas, I will not be returning to school as I will be entering the NBA Draft,” Bamba said in a statement, per the school.
A former McDonald’s All-American, Bamba has been frank and up-front regarding his intent to depart for the NBA after his freshman season, even prior to his first game as a Longhorn. Not surprisingly, Bamba didn’t waver from that stance as the Longhorns season reached its final stretch, such as when he was asked ahead of the Big 12 Tournament if he’d return to Texas for the 2018-19 season.
Mo Bamba asked if he’s coming back to Texas next season and he just laughs.— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) March 7, 2018
A modern-day, two-way talent, Bamba has had NBA scouts salivating dating back to his days as a five-star prospect out of the Westtown School in West Chester, Pa., where he concluded a storied high school career that included back-to-back Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association state titles. Along with being named as a McDonald’s All-American, Bamba’s efforts also earned him a spot on Team USA’s U18 championship team in 2016, as well as honors as a Jordan Brand Classic selection following his senior season.
Upon arriving at Texas, the 6’11 Bamba put his 7’9 wingspan on display to the tune of 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game courtesy of 15 double-doubles in 30 appearances. More notably in regards to his NBA potential, Bamba is nothing short of an elite rim protector, as he averaged 4.8 blocked shots per 40 minutes and finished No. 2 nationally in blocks per game (3.7) and third nationally in total blocked shots (111), despite missing three games down the stretch and working through knee and toe injuries.
As a result of such efforts, Bamba now owns the Big 12 all-time freshman blocked shots record by a substantial margin, and earned a spot on the All-Big 12 Second Team, Big 12 All-Defensive Team, and Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.
With Bamba now set to take those accolades with him to the NBA, he joins Jarrett Allen as the Longhorns second one-and-done in as many seasons, and the third in four years with Myles Turner departing after the 2014-15 slate.
Widely considered a future top five draft pick, Bamba is projected to be selected No. 4 overall by Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports, and No. 5 overall by ESPN and Bleacher Report.