One of college basketball’s most prized freshmen is interested in analytics and considered going to Harvard. His favorite classes are personal finance and the black power movement, and one of his favorite books is “Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA” by Ben Strauss and Joe Nocera. He visited the Great Wall of China as part of a community service project connected to his high school that included working with migrant children, shoveling coal and helping to run basketball clinics, and he would like to become an NBA global ambassador one day. Meet Mohamed Bamba, the University of Texas’s Renaissance Man, a 6-foot-11 center from Harlem and projected top-five pick in June’s NBA draft who is as unique as he is gifted. “If you could hit the genetic Powerball, Mo smashed it,” said Seth Berger, his high school coach at the Westtown School in Pennsylvania. “He’s tall, talented, long, super smart, handsome and charismatic. The kid has it all.” The 19-year-old Bamba, whose parents come from Ivory Coast, has significantly raised expectations at Texas by his mere presence. A year after winning just 11 games, the Longhorns received 10 votes in the Associates Press preseason poll, led by Bamba and his freakish length (7-foot-9 wingspan and 9-foot-6 standing reach). But he’s just as impressive off the court, a solid student at the academically challenging prep school. Bamba twice has attended Daryl Morey’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference to better understand the direction the sport is headed, and widen his knowledge of the game.
Texas gets the full package, and more, in prized NYC freshman
New York Post | Nov 7