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Five Immediate Thoughts After The Bamba News


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.

Bamba wrote:

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. mcdaag-uk

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

76 Comments for Five Immediate Thoughts After The Bamba News

  1. kennedyjedi
    12:01 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Good points Drew. While the decision didn’t go the way we wanted, we still have a great team and whether it’s Diallo coming back, or us adding Cam Johnson, the Cats will be making some noise next March.

    • Angelo
      3:50 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Great points Drew!! I would have loved to have Mo. The kid is super intelligent and i think he is going to be an NBA star.

  2. runningunnin.454
    12:17 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Maybe Texas will be able to beat Texas-Arlington…..they didn’t last year.

    • ShawnWyatt
      1:35 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      In all fairness, UTA does have an NBA Prospect of their own and one of the most underrated PG in College Basketball.

  3. TonyMontana
    12:18 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    I dont care how loaded we are this one still stings. Our class would’ve been extra special with him and it would’ve been a pleasure to have him on the team. The first class ever with 7 5-star players. Right? (Counting Diallo)… And speaking of him, now we wait for his painful announcement and then our brains can rest for a while.

    • damage_control
      1:27 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      I know- without him we have to settle for the #1 class again. WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!

  4. Mathlete
    12:26 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    He picked the school where he thought he’d have the best chance to succeed, and while we selfishly want every elite player to come here, it’s impossible to fault him for that

  5. RackEmWillie
    12:35 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    I don’t want to be a bad fan, but, I don’t wish an insane amount of success for him. I hope he’s healthy and plays well and achieves his dreams. But, if he under achieves, then people will start to question if he would have been better off going to UK. If enough people start questioning things like that, then I feel like it ends up making UK a better looking option for most players.

    Again, I hope he’s a great NBA player, and has a very healthy year at Texas. But, I don’t want him hooping it up and being a phenom and making UK look less attractive to players, and showing that success can be had elsewhere.

    • Matty_Cam
      12:43 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      As much as I would have loved for him to come here too, all we need to do is look at Simmons, Ben and Fultz, Markelle. Them going to other schools where not only did they not play in the NIT, but had losing records, didn’t factor one bit into where they’re going to be/already were drafted. That’s 2 consecutive top picks that didn’t go to a “blue blood”.

      Kentucky isn’t the only place that can produce talent and get the most out kids. But seriously, like Cal always says, we’re still gonna get our fair share of studs so there is no crying on the yacht.

  6. keiths
    12:38 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    We have needed a rim protector for 2 years now. We still need one. And that is the difference in making the final 4 and not

    • damage_control
      1:25 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Nick Richards (6′ 11″) and Sacha Killleya-Jones (6′ 10″) should be able to step up and fill the rim protector roles.

    • chrisg18
      2:25 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      SHOULD is key word there. Not sold on that happening with either though. Tai played more than SKJ in the second half of the season. Bamba would have been a sure thing.

  7. Rick_S
    12:38 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Fook Bamba..Like Rupp would say..He’s too stupid to play here..

  8. catsarerunnin
    12:40 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Not surprised at all. Good luck to him. We’re still in great shape for next season. Go Cats!!!

  9. runningunnin.454
    12:55 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    I feel it’s a bad decision; just like Smart’s decision to take the job there, it’s a dead-end…at least he’ll be able to leave after one year. Texas fans just don’t support basketball…he will play for a half empty arena, get beat by Kansas twice, maybe three times, and won’t be on national TV much.
    They are 31-35 under Smart; Jarret Allen couldn’t turn that around, and neither will Bamba.

    • Eazy
      5:54 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      I agree. Smart should have gone to Ucla. The Big 12 is a joke. SEC has surpassed them. Bamba should have come here or if it’s about academics; Duke and Michigan are better than Texas. Florida would have been better, too. Similar to Texas but much better on the court.

  10. lexslamman
    1:03 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Those darned grapes were probably too tart to eat.

    • runningunnin.454
      1:25 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      No sour grapes here, just my best analysis. You can understand top recruits going to Dook, Kansass, or even, with Crean gone, Loosierland. But,
      his year at Texas will have no effect on his draft status or NBA career just like Allen and Durant…it will be completely inconsequential.

  11. Dave from Owsley County
    1:04 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Will Muhammad Bamba be able to play for Texas on the road games even with the travel ban? The Big 12 isn’t close to each other geographicly. If he isn’t allowed to fly on a airplane that could be difficult. Its unfortuneate that politics can hurt these college kids.

    • a21CATSfan
      1:10 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Bamba is from Harlem. That’s in New York. In America, not very close to Owsley County. I wouldn’t tell people where I’m from with that frame of mind.

    • CPACAT
      1:11 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink


    • Booby Petrino
      1:19 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      why do people bother making comments like this? Just to see how others will react?

    • Mathlete
      1:28 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      I admire Dave’s philosophy of never letting silly things like “facts,” “common sense,” “interpersonal respect,” or “not knowing what he’s talking about” get in the way of spouting off idiotic opinions on the internet. Keep doing you, Dave.

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      1:29 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      You can tell people from Owsley County dont get out much….Stupid breeds stupid people!

    • Dave from Owsley County
      2:14 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Mathlete – I don’t think its an idiotic opinion to be aganst the travel ban. I have no problems with muslims being here. I was just pointin out how the ban might effect him. I have respect for Bamba, his decision, and his beliefs. He should have the same freedoms as the rest of us.

    • Dave from Owsley County
      2:18 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Bobby Petrino – I don’t want to start nothing I just was curious if the travel ban would impact him while in school. I didn’t know if Texas did private charter or if he’d be allowed to fly on a public plane. I hope it does not because he seems like a great young man and I hope he has success at Texas and in his career

    • Booby Petrino
      2:29 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      what are you talking about, why wouldn’t he be able to fly? Does he have some phobia we are unaware of? Or are you insinuating that he is an illegal immigrant? Because he’s as American as you are (If you’re really from Owsley County)

    • Booby Petrino
      2:30 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      and yes, I realize “illegal immigrant” isn’t pc, I’m trying to communicate with Dave the best way I can think of.

    • Dave from Owsley County
      2:33 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Bobby Petrino – I’m talking about the travel ban. I didn’t know if that would impact him. I hope it does not because I think that would be unfair for him. I believe people should be allowed to have whatever religion they want and be treated equal.

    • Dave from Owsley County
      2:39 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Shagari Sock puppet – I don’t get out much. But that’s rude to call me stupid. I don’t know how Texas University operates and I googled it and didn’t see anything that made since. I was just wondering if people here knew how they operated.

    • Mathlete
      2:41 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      1) The travel (Muslim) ban got shot down by the courts, repeatedly. It is not currently in effect.
      2) The travel ban only applied to international flights from specific countries, not domestic flights.
      3) Bamba is an American citizen and wouldn’t have been affected by the travel ban anyway.

      Your original comment wasn’t even remotely clear whether you were for or against it, but it doesn’t exist anyway so it doesn’t matter. I don’t disagree that the travel ban was stupid to begin with though.

    • Dave from Owsley County
      2:52 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Mathlete – Thank you for clearing that up. I didn’t know how that all worked. Im glad it is not in affect though. He is a nice young man and should not be punished for his religion. We are a free country. im sorry if I touched a nerve with people, just wanted to figure it out. Bobby Petrino you are rude though Im not sorry to you.

    • catsarerunnin
      3:05 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Maybe should have looked up the truth about the ban and found out “how all that worked” before posting.

    • ukgags86
      3:10 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      @Dave from Owsley…you may not be stupid but your original comment was exceptionally ignorant. Not only were you inquiring about an american citizen that lives in the US but you were referring to a travel ban that does not exist and when they executive order was initially executed, it only involved flights and immigration requests originating from ~6-7 specific middle eastern countries.

      I am still trying to figure out if you have been living under a rock since January or if you were intentionally trying to incite someone to make a racist comment about your ignorant interpretation of that nonexistent travel ban.

    • Dave from Owsley County
      3:10 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Catsarerunning – I would of looked it up but my google doesn’t work. something is wrong with my broweser. Thanks for the idea though.

    • Dave from Owsley County
      3:14 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      UKgregs86 – I just got internet on my phone and I don’t have cable. I almost wish I never posted I didn’t wanna make people mad. Im sorry I didn’t know more. I just wasn’t sure how it all worked. I don’t wanna make you mad I was just curious how this all worked.

    • wyatts1
      3:27 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      A simple No wouldve answered his question you idiots. Shagris and your sock puppet, dont be talking about his breed, and others like him. Answer his question then stfu. Start callin peoples breed is stupid or ignorant is racist, you prick

    • He doesn’t represent Owsley County. Most of us here are not ignerrant racists.

    • ukgags86
      3:31 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      @dave…lol, so you have been living under a rock by means of limited connectivity. Reading about the dumpster fire that is today’s politics, perhaps we should all envy Dave from Owsley.

    • catsarerunnin
      4:13 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      So maybe all of the left have limited connectivity. That would explain a lot.

    • Dave from Owsley County
      4:22 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      catsarerunning – I am not in the left. I am a republican. I just don’t like fashism.

    • catsarerunnin
      5:34 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Yeah that “fashism” is bad stuff….

  12. a21CATSfan
    1:08 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    The guys sitting at the table are most likely the starting 5 next year. Yes, all freshmen. And while doing lineup possibilties this morning, the fearless leader, Matt Jones and everybody seemed to forget about Jarred Vanderbilt. This kid can play 1-4 and will be in the starting lineup. Having Shai, Wenyen and SKJ/Tai off the bench isn’t the end of the world. But, boy does this hurt.

  13. damage_control
    1:23 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Who’s Jarrett Allen? Exactly

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      1:31 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Big man from Texas, he was close to coming to UK last year I believe or was on the radar late in the year. He can flat out play and got really good over the course of the year, probably had the best dunk of the year last year. Was a nasty poster!

  14. jahanc2uky
    1:30 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    This kid tried to outsmart a proven equation. Top prospects + Top Schools = Top NBA players. He is looking ahead to an after basketball career, when he has not been drafted yet. I hope he has a decent career, but I also hope he regrets picking Texas.

  15. CatsFanFrankfort
    1:30 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Good points, Drew, especially the one about Allen improving. I still would trust Kenny Payne and his history of developing big men, but it seems like Bamba paid close attention to the college landscape last year and took notes. Seems like a sharp kid. Would have loved to have him, but we should still be in the championship conversation next year, which is all any reasonable fan can want.

    Moving on though…is there any news on Vanderbilt’s ankle?! I don’t know if the prolonged silence out of their camp since the MRI several weeks ago is a good or bad thing.

    • Eazy
      5:59 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      True, but Texas was pitiful last year. We develop bigs and have a chance to win it all. Funny that Bamba went there but the top recruits from Texas come to UK. Fox, Randle, Vanderbilt, the Harrison’s, Washington, etc. It is telling that the best players in Texas usually spurn the Horns.

  16. BK
    1:36 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Good post Drew, all valid points, and obviously a special young man who is doing what he thinks is best for him. While Richards certainly doesn’t have Bamba’s insane length and same shot blocking package, it seems like he might be even more athletic. It might be a tougher learning curve for him, but we already have tremendous length, diversity of skill, and rebounding potential with the loaded class of forwards. It was more of a want than a need in my opinion. I think Diallo will very likely go pro, so that might be another big disappointment for some, but not me. We’ve got a loaded team that will be fun to watch and should be very good by year’s end… someone said above no crying on the yacht….and no unwarranted criticisms of Cal or the program.

    1:54 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    I know all of you Coach Cal stans are going to get mad at me for criticizing Calipari. But I am trying to understand WHY he chased Bam Adebayo to the NBA? I assume he was sure he was going to get Mo Bamba. Now that we are not getting him it looks like that was a really dumb move in more ways than one. This leaves us without a big you can dump it down to get those easier baskets down low and a experienced players that have been through the wars and can provide leadership. Not only did he hurt the team but he hurt the kid as he cost him MILLIONS of dollars. Imagine if Adebayo goes in the SECOND ROUND? When if he had stayed there was a good chance to be in lottery next year (A weaker draft especially for bigs).

    Coach Cal himself is to much about this one and done stuff akways looking for the next big thing to sign. He is suppose to be a players coach but he just SCREWED one of his players! Adebayo was better off at UK next year and we all know it! Anyone who defends this move is an IDIOT.

    • theWilkman
      2:01 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      I’m not sure someone with such a poor grasp of the English language should be calling anyone an idiot.

    • ClutchCargo
      2:01 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Oh, I don’t know… maybe he actually means it when he says he has these kids’ best interest at heart. That means doing what is best for them, even to your own detriment.

    • Bobbum Man
      2:04 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Or probably because bams family could really use the money… u say there’s a good chance he’s a lottery pick next year. Based on what exactly? he could also not improve/get injured and be in the same scenario or worse next year. I’m guessing there are bigger factors than doing what UKALLDAY1 wants so he won’t whine

      2:12 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      I am not a reporter I type and I post, so calm down Wilkman or whatever your name is, worry about trying to help mommy pay the rent for letting you stay in the basement and stop eating up all the food! As for his poor family do you think that they are better off not getting a bigger contract that pays more annually? They waited this long for him to make it to the NBA what is waiting one more year for a bigger payoff? I am saying Cal did it to make room for Mo Bamba and it backfired.

    • Chuck Norris
      2:13 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      If you seriously think Cal pushed Bam out the door and didn’t want him to come back, then you’re more insane than your post leads me to believe. Even if Bam gets picked in the second round (won’t happen), he would still be making money and could support his family. You’re not only delusional, but also selfish, and I’m glad Cal puts these kid’s interests above his own.

      2:18 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Hey Chuck how about you do research before coming on here and posting a response to my comment. Bam SAID HIMSELF Cal pushed him to the NBA! He was not set on leaving but Cal TOLD HIM TO GO!! It’s called google! Now go and educate yourself on the situation before that diarrhea in your head trickles down to your fingers again!

    • ukgags86
      3:22 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Every mock draft board I have seen shows bam as a 1st round pick. If that holds, he is assured a three year guaranteed contract. Bam’s stock might have risen to near lottery levels as you mentioned but I do not agree with you that Cal pushing him to the NBA (by way of inquiring why he hadn’t gotten and agent) was in order to make room for Bam. I choose to believe that he was doing what he felt was right for Bam and his family to get the guaranteed contract and start working on his NBA career.

    • ukgags86
      3:25 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Conversely, even if you are kind of correct, he still may have pushed him out in the best interest of the kid. What happens if Bamba earns his spot @5, and Bam cannot get on the court as the #4. I think that would have been very unlikely but in that case we would have seen bam’s stock fall kind of like Poytress when he stayed and then got injured.

      Big Poytress fan myself so I was super happy to see him dunking for the sixers at the end of the year.

    • theWilkman
      4:35 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      UKALLDAY1 – ah, the go-to comeback of the feeble-minded keyboard warrior. It’s pretty obvious from the content of our posts on this site which one of us is most likely to live in his parents’ basement. Spoiler alert- since you’re clearly pretty dense- it’s not me.

  18. ColoradoCat3
    2:10 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    We needed at least 1 out of Bam, Bamba, or Humphries. Bummer.

    • chrisg18
      2:15 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      I agree with this.

    • CatBlue in LR
      6:23 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

      Yep. I foresee a long year, by our standards. Richards is just not in the same category as Cousins, Davis, Noel, Towns or Bam. Closer to Dakari or freshman-year Cauley-Stein. Barring vast improvement by Kileya-Jones and/or Gabriel, we’ll be soft inside, similar to ’16 when Skal didn’t develop. Too green from top to bottom and little presence at the 5 = lackluster year, and that makes me irritable.

  19. chrisg18
    2:15 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Disagree this isn’t a big deal for UK as of right now. Bamba was a sure thing. We have no sure thing big man on the team now. From what I have seen in Richards he has potential but is raw and more of a project. He will have to improve a lot to really make big contributions next year. What if he is the SKJ of this year? And SKJ, well who knows. Wynyard played more than he did the second half of the season, so maybe we should hope for Tai instead. We can HOPE that these guys develop into solid contributors but there is no guarantee that will happen. Bamba would have been a guarantee. In fact, I would say if Humphries had come back he would be the favorite to start at the 5 right now. His loss could be big too.

  20. vegascatfan
    2:28 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    I’m good with this. We need to open the floor and play with 3 wings, a point, and a bigger guy in the paint. I think with Bamba Cal would have clogged the middle again. The game is changing… and we must change with it. Space and pace. Golden State is the way to the future.

  21. TBW3011
    2:52 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    No a big deal. Guard is our concern. Diallo leaves and we’re pretty average at guard. I like the kids we have, but I don’t feel comfortable with them running the team as freshmen.

  22. Rod Crandler
    3:07 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Well I’m not gonna spin this. It sucks. Need a rim protector. If we had one last season we would have hung #9. Got a feeling this shocked Cal about as much as getting Knox did.

  23. lougrantheone1
    3:22 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Props To Bamba, Good Luck In His Basketball Venture, He Will Be Kold @ Texas. Shakka Will Get’em Together….#BBN

  24. charlier
    3:33 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    I wish Mo Bamba all the success in the world. I do think he’s made a big big mistake. Cal will have 2 players go in the top 5 again this year. Allen is projected to go top 15-20 at best. Not much higher than Bam. Cal and KP have done a tremendous job with elite big men since they’ve been at UK. Davis , Towns , Cousins , Lyles , Randolph , Bam , Willie have proven that UK can produce greatness at ALL positions

  25. 8xchamp
    3:37 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Cousins, Davis wcs, towns, nerlens guys that actually played their position in college. I’ll take any of those over allen. I question the he’s so smart thing. Good luck to him he’s gonna need it playing with those scrubs.

  26. 8xchamp
    3:38 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Also probably scared of no promised minutes in a loaded front court.

  27. Marcus Areolas
    4:22 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Can’t get em all! We should have enough to get jobbed by the refs again next year.

  28. UKfanman01
    4:45 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    So I’ll start off by saying congrats on a great article. That is one knock I’ve had on Cal the last couple of years. He doesn’t use the 4 correctly. Like I told people at work when there was a chance Bam was coming back. Bam needed to go. Cal was only going to hurt him. NBA wants him to shoot 3’s, play a little inside, and grab rebounds. Cal still plays traditional ball. Skal is another prime example. Even Cal said he screwed that kid up, and even after he said that he still didn’t utilize him like he should’ve been.
    I guess Bamba is more worried about personal development than wins next season, which is a shame. Texas seemed to be the worse of the 4. I’d personally rather have seen Mizzou. At least they’re rebuilding with a solid coach and have the number 1 player next year. Would’ve been a neat team to watch. With all of that said I hope the two teams meet next year

  29. jim tom
    5:41 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink


  30. Eazy
    6:02 pm May 18, 2017 Permalink

    Good get for Texas. I’ll take Vanderbilt and Washington who are both Texas guys who chose us over the Horns. Same with the Harrison’s, Randle, and Fox. It’s quite telling that we out recruit them in their own backyard every year.