With yet another college basketball season now in the rearview, the focus is set to shift entirely towards the 2018 NBA Draft.
A wide variety of the top talent college basketball has to offer will now spend the coming months training in hopes of simply hearing their name called on June 21. Others, such as former Texas Longhorns star center Mohamed Bamba, will undoubtedly receive that recognition, and much sooner than later.
The general consensus is that the 7-foot Harlem (N.Y.) native will be among the first five or six picks in the draft; a projection that aligns with Sports Illustrated’s latest NBA Mock Draft, as Jeremy Woo projects Bamba to go No. 4 overall to the Orlando Magic.
“Expect the Magic to lean toward long-term upside and projection with this pick. There’s no questioning Bamba’s insane defensive potential given his length and mobility,” Woo said. “His 7’9” wingspan and 9’6” standing reach are true rarities. Bamba’s rudimentary offensive game is a riskier bet, but he may only need to be a DeAndre Jordan-type lob threat to be immensely valuable.”
“He has shown potential shooting jumpers and is more skilled than he was able to show at Texas,” Woo added. “Chief concerns from NBA teams have centered on competitiveness and playing hard, which he can help address during the pre–draft process.”
From the moment Bamba arrived on the Forty Acres, he was frank and up-front regarding his intention to become a pro after just one season. The tremendous flashes Bamba displayed throughout his one and only season at Texas supported those aspirations entirely.
In 30 appearances, Bamba notched 15 double-doubles and finished the season averaging 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds, More notably in regards to his NBA potential, Bamba is nothing short of an elite rim protector, as he averaged 4.8 blocked shots per 40 minutes and finished No. 2 nationally in blocks per game (3.7) and third nationally in total blocked shots (111), despite missing three games down the stretch and working through knee and toe injuries.
As a result, Bamba earned a spot on the All-Big 12 Second Team, Big 12 All-Defensive Team, and Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.
With those collegiate accolades in the rearview, the next step for Bamba will be to earn a spot on an NBA roster, and the general expectation is that the franchise he’ll join owns a top five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.