Prep star Bamba selects Texas
(TSX / STATS) -- Mohamed Bamba, the top remaining uncommitted men's basketball recruit in the class of 2017, announced Thursday he will attend Texas next season, choosing the Longhorns over Kentucky.
Bamba is a McDonald's All American who is ranked as the nation's second-best prospect in the 2017 class by Scout and is ranked third by ESPN.
He is the top recruit during Shaka Smart's time as Texas coach. Scout ranks Texas' 2017 recruiting class the third best in the nation.
Bamba announced his choice on The Players' Tribune.
Bamba, a 6-foot-11 Harlem, N.Y., native who played his high school ball at Westtown School in West Chester, Pa., said he bonded with Smart when he played under Smart coach on the under-18 Team USA last summer. He also noted that he liked the progress his friend Jarrett Allen made last season. After one season with the Longhorns, Allen is now projected to be a first-round NBA pick.
"I can't say enough about the strides my friend Jarrett Allen made this past year," Bamba wrote. "I saw his footwork improve. I saw the spots they put him in -- where he was shooting, passing and stretching the paint like a modern 5. Most importantly, I saw his confidence grow throughout the season as he distinguished himself as a possible lottery pick. I'm thankful for the blueprint he laid down and I hope to follow in his footsteps."
Besides losing Allen, Texas lost Tevin Mack, the team's leading scorer last year, who was suspended multiple times, then dismissed. Mack announced this week that he is transferring to Alabama.
"I'm extremely excited that Mo has chosen Texas," Smart said in a statement. "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."
As a senior, Bamba averaged 12.8 points and 9.3 boards per game.
"He has so much to offer," Westtown coach Seth Berger said, according to Philly.com. "He's got intelligence, character, length, athleticism, and talent. He's 100 percent a one-and-done kid. He'll be a No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the 2018 NBA draft."
Updated May 19, 2017