A consensus five-star prospect and the nation’s No. 3 player in the 2017 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Bamba arrived in Austin with high expectations. And though he’s still working on maximizing his talent, Bamba flashed his immense potential by leading the Big 12 Conference in double-doubles (15), rebounding (10.5 rpg) and blocked shots (111, 3.70 bpg).
At 12.9 point per game, he also contributed on the offensive end while converting 54.1 percent of his attempts from the field. It was on defense, however, where he impacted the game most consistently, as his 3.70 blocks per game ranked second nationally.
Head coach Shaka Smart believes that some teams may regret passing on Bamba.
“I just think the exciting thing about Mo is that he has more potential than any of those guys,” Smart said in a May radio appearance.
“He’s got phenomenal upside, and he’s really just scratching the surface of what he can do as a player, particularly on the offensive end. We knew we’d only have him for one year, and I’m just really proud of the growth and progress that he made on and off the court at Texas.”
Bamba is now the 17th Texas player selected in the first round and the highest player drafted from the Longhorns since the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Tristan Thompson with the fourth pick in 2011.