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Daniel Seahorn

BOOM! Five Star Forward Mo Bamba Commits To Texas

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There is a presser for Shaka Smart today.


That means the paperwork is most likely already in hand.


For Shaka Smart to go from the worst season in a long time at Texas to one of the top (if not the top) class in history of Texas cannot be understated.


This was a big hole for Texas with the departure of Allen, so this win was crucial.


Shaka was a bit upset with his players last season towards the end. Now it looks like he's getting his guys and is sitting pretty.

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Want more good news? Being reported Andrew Jones is leaning towards coming back to Texas. Big news just got bigger for Shaka.


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This letter he wrote is truly awesome. Take some time to read it. Kid has a good head on his shoulders.


WOW!!!  WOW!!!  WOW!!!   Mr. Bamba is definitely mature beyond his young years.  He will not only be a positive for Texas Basketball, but also for The University of Texas.  This young man has set himself up for unlimited future success.  Congratulations and all the best to you, Mr. Bamba.

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Wow! What a get! I love this guy for what he does off the court maybe more than what he does on the court!


I love the type of guys Shaka is bringing in and not tolerating guys like Mack.


Hook Em!

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No. 2 recruit in nation Mohamed Bamba picks Texas over Kentucky and Duke



Five-star prospect Mohamed Bamba committed to Texas early Thursday -- picking UT over a host of schools including Duke and Kentucky.
Bamba is the nation's No. 2 prospect, according to 247Sports.
"I've seen firsthand how much [Texas coach Shaka Smart] genuinely cares about me and my family," Bamba wrote for The Players' Tribune, "and how he's going to challenge me to be in a state of continuous improvement."

Smart coached Bamba with USA Basketball last summer.
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Bamba, a 7-foot forward from New York, becomes the fifth top-100 prospect from the Class of 2017 to commit to Texas -- joining No. 47 Matt Coleman, No. 49 Jericho Sims, No. 85 Royce Hamm and No. 86 Jase Febres. The Longhorns' class now ranks fourth nationally, according to 247Sports. That means Smart has assembled back-to-back top-five recruiting classes.
Here are three things to know.
1. This is huge for Texas
I realize that kind of goes without saying. But Texas was never considered the leader to land Bamba. According to most recruiting analysts, he was likely headed to Kentucky. So this is big for the Longhorns and bad for the Wildcats. And now Texas has another one-and-done prospect to replace its most recent one-and-done prospect -

2. Yes, Bamba is probably a one-and-done guy
Bamba is a bright young man who seems to genuinely value education. But that isn't likely to keep him in Austin for more than a year considering DraftExpress projects him as the No. 4 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Guys like that almost never become sophomores. So, sure, it's possible Bamba could be the exception, I guess. But make no mistake, he would have to be an exception.
3. Smart is set to have a breakthrough season
Smart is 15-21 in Big 12 games since taking over at Texas with one NCAA Tournament appearance and one last-place finish in the league. That's not awful. But it's also not great. So he needs a nice season to reignite the fanbase. And Bamba could be the key to doing that. Assuming Andrew Jones withdraws from the NBA Draft, and I think he will, UT should have the pieces to compete for a top-four finish in the Big 12. That would have Smart back in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in nine years as a head coach. And then that rough 2016-17 season would basically be forgotten.



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He should write some articles for hornsports.



Ready to Rock


I know what you’re thinking:

What’s the hold up?

Man, he’s really milkin’ this.

He sure seems to love the attention.

Why’s he so indecisive?

That last one is fair. You got me. I’ll concede that. It’s true: I’m one of the last high school recruits in the class of 2017 who still hasn’t declared my college choice. And one of my goals right now in life is to get better at making the right call despite having incomplete information. Snap decisions will happen 150 possessions per game in college and even more in the real world, so I’m constantly trying to improve this.

But the first three? C’mon, now. Y’all need to know that’s not my style, so I want to tell you about my process. Actually, I’ve heard a lot of “Trust the Process†here in Philly where I go to high school, so let’s call this something different. Let’s call it “Mo’s Rocks.â€


I once saw a video of a guy giving a lecture on how to be more effective at prioritizing daily tasks. He has an empty jar and an assortment of things he’s trying to fit into it — big rocks, medium-sized stones, tiny pebbles and a pile of sand.

(Spoiler alert: The only way to fit everything into the jar is to put the big rocks in first and then work your way down, finishing it off with the sand.)

To me, the real lesson of the video is about prioritizing what’s important in your life — and why. “Big rocks first†has become a mantra for me.

So what does this all have to do with basketball and recruiting? A wise man once told me that your college decision is an outright reflection of who you really are on the inside. So before you know my decision, you gotta know who I am, where I come from and what I’ve done to get here.

I remember the first time I started to think about writing this letter. It was just a couple of days ago as I was heading back to school on the bus and worrying about a lot of different things. Some of those worries were normal for any high school senior with three weeks left on the clock: homework, final exams, my upcoming driver’s test, prom — and of course my college decision.

Others were unique to my upbringing and family situation. How do I better myself and build a long, successful career that will 1) ensure that my father won’t have to drive a cab 70-plus hours a week, including nights and weekends, and 2) ensure that my mother — my true rock — will never have to worry about me again? What high school should I recommend to my younger cousins who so dearly want to be like me (even though they’ll never admit it)? How can I convince them that one of the best ways to avoid trouble in Harlem is by attending a school outside the city — like I did?


The most meaningful compliment anyone has ever paid me is that I’m “mature beyond my years.†They were probably just attributing that to my physical gifts, but deep down I’d like to think that I’ve been making some incredibly difficult adult-type decisions ever since elementary school. I’ll tell you about those someday if I get invited back here to write another piece, but the “big rocks first†mantra has helped me navigate these adult situations. It was only natural that I use it for my college decision.

When all was said and done, one school filled my decision jar the best.

I’ve decided to attend the University of Texas. I will be heading there in early June to get to work.

Why Texas? Why would a kid from Harlem travel 1,750 miles from home to pursue his goals? Well, big rocks first:

Big Rocks

The Coach

Coach Smart may not have been aware of it, but I put him through a weeklong job interview last summer when he coached me on Team USA in Valdivia, Chile. We instantly formed a bond. Now, the tables have turned, and I’m the one interviewing with him, hoping to show I can play a major role in his team’s success next season. His attention to detail is truly unbelievable — I can’t tell you how many times he picked up on something I mentioned in passing and brought it back full circle several months later. I’ve seen firsthand how much he genuinely cares about me and my family and how he’s going to challenge me to be in a state of continuous improvement.

Beyond Basketball

How can a projected “one-and-done†college athlete get a real college education? That gets thrown around a lot and I want to go on record as saying that the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. My academic focus is not just lip service. It’s extremely important to me and my family, but I also firmly believe that the best class I’ll ever take will actually be taught by the people I will surround myself with.

I feel especially fortunate to explore my academic interests within the McCombs School of Business, one of the nation’s top undergraduate BBA programs. Learning from world-class professors and classmates in Austin, a city that’s renowned for tech and innovation, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Oh, and that alumni network — man, the Horns are everywhere! I can see and feel their passion and I’m excited about aligning myself with them for a lifetime of support and learning. I’ve seen firsthand the power of this from my time at Westtown and Cardigan Mountain.

These two big rocks were the true keys to my decision — without the coach and without the “beyond basketball†element, the stones, pebbles and sand wouldn’t have mattered that much.


Strength and Conditioning

I spent a lot of time studying the sophisticated strength training at Texas, and how much every movement is measured and tracked to find ways to optimize the body’s performance. I know I need to add some weight and I want to make sure I’m doing it the right way, safely, while focusing on injury prevention. Texas’s emphasis on plyometric and core training, teaching the proper loading and landing mechanics, and its no-shortcuts approach to recovery really resonated with me.

Skill Development

I can’t say enough about the strides my friend Jarrett Allen made this past year. 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 five. 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.

Pebbles and Sand

It’s hard to rank the exact order of these, but I definitely took into consideration the overall school environment, the college town atmosphere, how easy it would be for my family to visit (five different airlines have a direct flight from NYC), my idol Kevin Durant’s deep involvement with the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation at the school, and my own gut feeling.

Oh, and the weather….

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to some sunshine after 19 years of New York and Philly winters!


Everybody’s recruiting process is unique in some way, and mine was no different. Watching my family grow and solidify its bond was by far my favorite part of the experience. The world is bigger than 94 by 50 feet, and we all agreed that Texas offers me an exceptional opportunity to blaze my own trail on the basketball front with the comfort of knowing that no matter what happens, I’ve got an unrivaled support network to lean on for whenever the ball stops bouncing.

You can’t put a price on that, but you can tie a lasso around it.

Hook ’em!





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A huge get for Texas but in college basketball you need a PG to be really successful. Until we get a true PG, with a little experience, it's going to be tough for Texas to go deep into the tournament. Still, we should be vastly improved over last year.

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A huge get for Texas but in college basketball you need a PG to be really successful. Until we get a true PG, with a little experience, it's going to be tough for Texas to go deep into the tournament. Still, we should be vastly improved over last year.

Texas landed a highly ranked PG in Matt Coleman to go along with Bamba and others. He should get minutes from the jump.

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"Smart is 15-21 in Big 12 games since taking over at Texas with one NCAA Tournament appearance and one last-place finish in the league. That's not awful. But it's also not great."



I'm not so sure I agree.  Better things on the horizon I believe. 


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I'm impressed.


it reels in a prospect that has so much potential that one source with NBA connections told me that Bamba already is “the top-rated pick for next year’s draft.†According to several 2018 mock drafts, Bamba is projected as a top-four selection.





Bohls: Expecting Mo’ wins, Shaka Smart has revamped his Texas men’s program





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From what I read that young man will be a credit to The University whether he steps on the court or not. Were he not so anxious to be in a position to help his parents, I suspect he would value his degree from McCombs so highly that he would stay and graduate.


When one has the chance to be around a young person that has such a clear view of their future and goals....and can envision the way to get there you cannot help but be inspired.




And one more thing....Mo's father should be able to command big dollars giving seminars on how to bring up a child.I would pay to hear him.

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Mohamed Bamba's arrival raises stakes at Texas




Mohamed Bamba could be the player who changes everything for Shaka Smart at Texas.

The No. 3 player in the ESPN 100, Bamba would've been a nice piece at Kentucky, a defensive anchor for the rest of the Wildcats' talented freshmen. At Duke, he would've been a quality contrast to Wendell Carter and Marques Bolden.

But at Texas, he's at the very least a season-changer and a narrative-changer. He has the potential to be a tenure-changer for Smart.

Two months ago, things were going the wrong way in Austin. Texas had just finished an 11-22 campaign, losing its final seven regular-season games. Smart had to suspend leading scorer Tevin Mack multiple times, eventually leading to Mack's asking for his release to transfer in late February. One of the few bright spots of the season, Jarrett Allen, announced he was leaving for the NBA draft and signing with an agent. Freshman Andrew Jones, a former McDonald's All-American, also announced he was testing the waters.


The questions started. What would next season look like for Smart? Was Smart's "Havoc" style from VCU sustainable in the Big 12? After all, when Texas won 20 games in Smart's first season at the helm, it was a much slower, more methodical system than what Smart used with the Rams. Could Smart build a program in a power conference?

Bamba's announcement Thursday morning, though, sends a message. The top uncommitted player in the country heading into the spring, Bamba is one of the best defensive players to come through high school basketball in several years. He can guard multiple positions, play at the top of a zone or press, and block shots at the rim.

He's still somewhat raw offensively, but he can score around the rim and has some touch facing the basket.

Make no mistake, though, Bamba is an elite prospect and a potential top pick in the NBA draft. For Texas to beat out two of college basketball's bluebloods, Kentucky and Duke, it gives it a huge boost on the recruiting trail. Smart already had inroads with northern Virginia due to his time at VCU, but Bamba -- a New York native who played his high school ball in Pennsylvania -- could open up the Northeast.

In the past two recruiting classes -- Smart's first two full cycles at Texas -- the Longhorns have landed seven ESPN 100 prospects, including two five-star talents and three McDonald's All-Americans.

Texas might not consistently have top-five recruiting classes like the powerhouses of the sport, but Smart is still proving himself as a high-level recruiter. He held off Duke for Matt Coleman and now beat Kentucky for Bamba. That's no easy task.

Bamba has been a sought-after prospect for a few years, but Smart never backed off even when Duke and Kentucky made their pushes. He solidified his relationship with Bamba on the USA Basketball U18 team last summer, and continued to make trips to Westtown School (Pennsylvania) the past several months to visit Bamba. Landing ESPN 100 point guard Coleman in January helped, as it showed Bamba he would have a pure point guard at Texas. Ironically, the departure of Allen also helped, as it might've been difficult to play Allen and Bamba together. As Kentucky continued to add players to its frontcourt, things started to trend in the Longhorns' direction. So Thursday's decision didn't come as a huge surprise, but it changes the landscape of the college basketball season.


Suddenly, Texas can sport one of the better rosters in the Big 12: Bamba and Tulane transfer Dylan Osetkowski in the frontcourt, Coleman and Jones -- who appears to be leaning toward returning to Austin -- in the backcourt and rising juniors Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis as complementary pieces.

Smart finally has his type of team in place. He has depth, experience, four ESPN 100 players entering the fold, versatility, a true point guard -- and now a centerpiece in Bamba.

It's now fair to judge Smart at Texas. His first season, it was leftovers from the Rick Barnes era. His second season was a transition period despite the influx of talent. It's now his third season, he has his players and he has guys who fit his preferred style. And he has Bamba, the No. 3 player entering college basketball next season.

The 2017-18 season is a huge campaign for Smart, especially coming off a down season. But with Bamba in tow, he now has the horses to handle that pressure.



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