AUSTIN, Texas – Mohamed Bamba (Harlem, N.Y.) has signed an Athletic Scholarship Agreement (ASA) to play basketball next season at The University of Texas, head coach Shaka Smart announced Thursday. Bamba’s signing projects UT’s incoming recruiting class into a consensus Top 3 class nationally. He selected Texas over Kentucky, Duke, Michigan and Harvard.
Bamba (6-11, 220), a forward from Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.) who played under coach Seth Berger, is ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, No. 2 by Scout.com and No. 3 by ESPN. He is the nation’s top-ranked frontcourt player by both Rivals.com and Scout.com.
“Coach Smart understood from day one that I’m someone who is looking to make a profound impact, both on and off the court,” Bamba said. “The more I learned about The University of Texas and the city of Austin, the more I realized this was an ideal platform for me to pursue my many goals.”
Bamba joins some prestigious company at The University of Texas by virtue of his national recruiting ranking. He is the fourth signee in program history ranked as one of the nation’s top two recruits, joining Avery Bradley (No. 1 by ESPN in 2009), Kevin Durant (No. 2 by Rivals in 2006) and Myles Turner (No. 2 by ESPN in 2014).
“I’m extremely excited that Mo has chosen Texas,” Smart said. “He’s as unique a person and player as I’ve been around. Mo’s combination of talent, intellect and ability to impact others will make him a catalyst in our program and on our campus from day one.”
Bamba capped an illustrious scholastic career when he became the 19th player in UT program history to participate in the McDonald’s All-American Game (March 29) and the 15th player in school history to play in the Jordan Brand Classic (April 14) earlier this spring. He also played for Team USA in the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit (April 7). In addition, Bamba earned a spot on the 2017 Naismith Trophy High School All-America first team and was one of five finalists for the Naismith National High School Player of the Year.
Bamba averaged 12.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game in his senior season (2016-17) while leading Westtown School to a 32-2 mark and a second consecutive Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association state title. As a junior, he averaged 14.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 6.0 blocks per game in pacing Westtown to the state championship. He also helped Westtown register a 26-6 record in his sophomore season in 2014-15.
A high-level student motivated to engage in a variety of interests beyond the court, Bamba plans to explore his interest in marketing within the prestigious McCombs School of Business.
“I want my son to get the best education possible,” said Bamba’s mother, Aminata Johnson. “We are excited for Mohamed to be around professors, coaches, students and alumni who are going to support him in whatever he decides to pursue in life.”
“I have been really impressed with Shaka’s attention to detail and the ideas he has for nurturing Mo’s growth beyond basketball,” added Bamba’s sister, Sita Johnson. “I love the fact that Shaka understands how important it is to collaborate with our family to ensure my brother’s development as a person.”
The addition of Bamba gives the Longhorns a five-man freshman class. Bamba will join incoming guards Matt Coleman and Jase Febres [pronounced: JAYCE FEB-rus] and forwards Royce Hamm Jr. and Jericho Sims for the 2017-18 season.
“Mo’s personality and dynamic skill-set fit extremely well with the other members of our incoming class as well as our returning players,” Smart added. “I’m very excited about our team composition and the way in which our guys will complement each other. There’s no question that Mo will make everyone around him better, both on and off the court.”