Mohamed Bamba is going to Texas. The five-star big man announced his commitment Thursday morning via his own words on The Players’ Tribune. In the end, he picked the Longhorns over Kentucky, Duke and Michigan in a disappointing decision for Big Blue Nation.
Bamba’s explanation of the decision is a long one and very well-written for the kid who is wise beyond his age. He explains living by a mantra of “filling his jar with big rocks first,” and he names Texas as the program that filled his jar the best, and Shaka Smart and academics as the biggest rocks:
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.
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.
Bamba goes on to list strength, conditioning and skill development as his jar’s “stones,” followed by the campus environment and weather as the “pebbles and sand.”
It’s a very good read from a young man who just broke our basketball hearts.