Mohamed Bamba’s recruitment is over and it didn’t go in Kentucky’s favor. Here are five quick thoughts on his decision to pick Texas as we get back on our feet after the disappoint blow to BBN’s recruiting momentum…
1. Hey, at least he didn’t go to Duke.
If you’re going to lose a recruitment, you always want to lose to a school that’s not a threat. Texas will be a good team next season, but nowhere near as good as if Duke, our arch nemesis, had added Bamba to its roster.
2. He makes a good point about Jarrett Allen.
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.
Now let’s look at Bam Adebayo and Sacha Killeya-Jones, two other five-star big men from Allen’s class who attended Kentucky. Bam went from projected lottery pick to fringe first-rounder after a year that didn’t live up to expectations; Killeya-Jones didn’t play at all. Calipari’s long-term record with bigs is good, but those are three guys Bamba has known most of his basketball life and probably kept close tabs on last season when Allen proved to make the most strides in one year. One point to Texas.
3. It’s really not a big deal for Kentucky next year.
As nice as it would’ve been to add a game-changer like Bamba, Kentucky is already pretty loaded in the paint, probably too loaded. A month ago you would’ve ranked Bamba third behind Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo based on need; well, you got Knox and Diallo is still TBD.
However, no Bamba puts pressure on Nick Richards and a sophomore Killeya-Jones to perform, but it’s not like Kentucky won’t have a big man because it didn’t get Bamba.
He would’ve been a great addition because he is special. It’s not the end of the world.
4. He is really, really, really smart and I’m a huge fan.
Unlike most (all) player contributions to The Players’ Tribune, I really believe Bamba wrote his own. Watch one interview with him and you know he’s a very special young man outside of his basketball talents. He clearly put a lot of thought into this decision and believes he is doing what’s best for his family, which is all that really matters in the end. How can you not love that he wants to, in his words, “build a long, successful career that will ensure that my father won’t have to drive a cab 70-plus hours a week, including nights and weekends”? Consider me a big fan of Mo Bamba for life.
5. I still like my team.
When the ball tips next fall, give me the University of Kentucky over anyone.
They’re at the table waiting to eat.