Two elite 2017 talents will be on the 40 Acres over the weekend as four-star point guard Matt Coleman and five-star power forward Mohamed Bamba will visit Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns October 28.
For obvious reasons, this dual visit is of significantly-increased importance for the ‘Horns second-year head coach.
In the case of Coleman, the Oak Hill Academy floor general, most would agree Texas is amid a two-horse race with Duke; seemingly still holding the slight edge. Coleman visited Duke last weekend and the Blue Devils are now reportedly “all in,” which means Smart will likely need to convince Coleman that Texas is the place for him during his visit.
Smart has been involved in Coleman’s recruitment since his VCU days, but there’s legitimate reason for concern for any program in the country if Duke goes “all in” on a target.
If Smart is able to keep the electric lefty away from Durham, it may be his most impressive recruiting effort thus far. Duke holds Coleman’s last four Crystal Ball projections.
Coleman ranks as the nation’s No. 32 player and No. 8 point guard.
Joining Coleman in Austin will be Bamba, the Westtown School (N.Y) product and No. 3 player in the nation.
Bamba’s recruitment hasn’t generated much noise, aside from his reported final seven of Texas, Duke, Kentucky, UConn, Harvard, Michigan and Syracuse. Now taking an official visit to Texas, Smart and his staff must capitalize on what may be the best chance to sell the elite power forward on playing for the Longhorns in a recruitment where Duke and Kentucky are the perceived frontrunners.
Coleman and Bamba have developed a close relationship of late, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they ultimately became a package deal, though there’s been no public discussion of that. It’s unclear exactly how high Bamba’s interest in Texas is, but it’s obviously high enough to take an official visit and reconnect with Smart in person, whom he and Coleman played for over the summer with Team USA, along with current Longhorns Jarrett Allen and James Banks.
A source reportedly told 247Sports a few weeks back that those within the basketball program feel tremendously confident about the star talent they feel could join the 2017 class, including Coleman. Texas then willingly backed off of five-star power forward P.J. Washington and many expect five-star small forward Jarred Vanderbilt to head to TCU or Kentucky.
Could Coleman and Bamba be the final touches of a 2017 class that finishes in the top three nationally?
Four-star combo guard Shai Alexander listed Texas in his top eight on Tuesday, along with Florida, UNLV, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Kansas and N.C. State.
As far as Texas is concerned, there likely isn’t much here. Depending on what happens to Coleman and four-star shooting guard Charles O’Bannon Jr., Texas may be adding two more guards to a class that already includes four-star shooting guard Jase Febres. If certain commits play out, the ‘Horns would have an abundance of high-level guard depth, so it’s unlikely that Texas puts to much stock into the former Florida commit.
Alexander’s only offer is from the Gators.