Time is winding down on the recruitment of Mohamed Bamba, the No. 2 high school senior in America. Bamba has made no plans to make and announce his decision in the near future, but as May draws closer, Bamba’s decision does too.
Once the seven-footer’s college destination is announced, it will be one of four schools: Duke, Kentucky, Michigan or Texas. All good schools, all with their own pros and cons. Let’s break those pros and cons down tonight and decide which is the better option for Bamba. (We’ll be unbiased here.)
1. Academics. Of the four schools Bamba is considering, a diploma from Duke will look best on the mantle. Education is important to Bamba and Duke would challenge him in that area, if not for the fact he will likely be there for only one year.
2. Coach K. Best college basketball coach ever? He’s in the conversation.
3. Elite program and title contender. Per usual, Duke will be one of the top teams in the preseason rankings and conversations. That will continue ad nauseam throughout the season up until somewhere around the second round of the NCAA tournament.
1. Wendell Carter and Marques Bolden. Duke’s frontcourt is pretty much set already with incoming freshman Wendell Carter and returning sophomore Marques Bolden inside. Bamba would obviously challenge those two for a spot, but somebody ain’t going to be happy in the end.
2. Having to play with Grayson Allen. Earlier this week Grayson Allen announced his return to Duke. And who would voluntarily share a locker room and play basketball with that guy? He’s a crazy person.
3. Google ‘Jahlil Okafor’. With all due respect to Coach K’s greatness, he doesn’t have the track record of other coaches (*cough* Calipari *cough*) when it comes to star one-and-done big men.
1. Academics. Like Duke, Michigan provides a great education. It’s considered one of the best public schools in America, while bringing the big-time university atmosphere, unlike Duke.
2. Football tickets? Game’s at the Big House look fun. I hear Michigan has a pretty nice campus too.
3. I got nothing. Literally can’t think of a third pro.
1. Big Ten. Why would anyone want to play in the Big Ten? I’m falling asleep just thinking about it.
2. John Beilein’s never had a young star. In his 10 years at Michigan, John Beilein has never had a five-star prospect. Can he coach one up? Can he get one ready for the NBA? I wouldn’t want to be the first to find out.
3. It’s not Duke, Kentucky or Texas. Sorry, Michigan fans. Good luck against Ohio State in football next year. Harbaugh should have you in the playoff.
1. Living in Austin, Texas. Austin is awesome.
2. Chance to put Texas basketball on the map. One of the top two or three athletics schools in the country is lacking in basketball. Bamba could bring the program to the top and put an end to Kansas’s Big 12 dominance.
3. The spot’s wide open. Texas lost its star big man, Jarrett Allen, to the NBA. Bamba would walk into his position with nobody challenging him for one minute of action. It’d be his show, although with little help.
1. Farthest from home. Bamba is originally from Harlem and he played his high school basketball in Philadelphia. Of the four schools he is considering, Texas is the farthest by about a million miles.
2. Shaka Smart. He’s not at VCU and it’s not 2011. Smart is still milking all he can get out of that one magical run six years ago.
3. Nobody cares. Unless Bamba is playing defensive end or tight end, nobody at Texas is going to care that he is on campus. I don’t think anyone on campus today knows Kevin Durant played there, nor could they find the basketball arena on a map.
1. Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo. Bamba has been open about his close friendships with Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo, the projected starting backcourt at Kentucky next season. Green has been the lead recruiter for Bamba, while Diallo has been in his ear about what it’s like to be a Wildcat. Together, the three are best buds.
2. No. 1 overall pick. John Calipari’s pretty good at producing those. He’s responsible for four of the last nine.
3. National Championship. Kentucky’s due for one.
1. Having to sign all those autographs. And having an entire Nation adore him.
2. Being on TV every game. It must get exhausting playing in front of so many people every single game and building his own brand for the future.
3. Picking friends and family for green room table. The NBA draft won’t let its top player bring everyone to New York, so there’s the difficult decision of narrowing friends and family down to one table. Plus he’d have to buy a nice suit and pay all those taxes and all of the other struggles that come with being a superstar before the age of 20.
OBVIOUS PICK: KENTUCKY
(Unbiased opinion, of course.)