How does Mo Bamba change things for Texas Basketball?
Two weeks back, I dove a little bit into the impact future Longhorn guard Matt Coleman would have in the 2017–2018 season. At the conclusion of that article, I discussed the progress of regrowth for Longhorn basketball, and how the entire process might be accelerated with the addition of the 2017 ESPN 100 #3 player in the country, Mo Bamba. Well……turns out that scenario has become a reality, and Mo Bamba is coming to UT.
Purely via ESPN’s Top 100 rankings, the Longhorns have actually had quite the level of success when it comes to top centers in the country. Over the past 4 recruiting seasons alone, Texas has managed to snag 3 top 2 ranked centers in the country. Myles Turner, Jarrett Allen, and now Mo Bamba. Unfortunately, seasons with both Turner and Allen concluded in relatively small success in regard to the deep tournament run standard Texas aspires to set for itself. Although the roster going into the 17–18' season looks to be one of the youngest for coach Shaka Smart, it is perhaps his most talented group to date.
If you weren’t already aware, Mo Bamba has a longer wingspan than any player heading into THIS YEAR’S draft. Yes, the one where Lonzo Ball gets drafted by the Celtics just to piss off the almighty Lavar Ball. Bamba’s 7'9" wingspan alone is incredible, but his combination of athleticism for a big man, and presence as a rim protector, bodes well for the success of this team. It will be interesting to see how opposing Big 12 schools match up against Bamba, particularly rival Kansas’ Billy Preston who like Bamba, participated in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Maybe the biggest result of Bamba’s decision, was possibly playing a role in Andrew Jones returning to the Longhorns for his sophomore season. Jones maybe didn’t have the season he would have wanted to in 2016, struggling to consistently play at the high level many thought the former 5 star recruit would, but with Bamba replacing Allen, and Coleman taking over PG duty, Jones should be able to let his talents and athletic ability reign free on opposing defensive units.
Does the addition of Mo Bamba solidify Texas as an NCAA tournament contender. Obviously that remains to be seen, but the talent is there, and you would think it’s only a matter of time before Shaka Smart gets comfortable in Austin.
Starting Lineup Prediction:
G: Matt Coleman
G: Andrew Jones
G: Kerwin Roach Jr.
F: Dylan Osetkowski
F: Mo Bamba