Four-star center James Banks verbally committed to Shaka Smart and Texas on Thursday morning, he told Scout.
“After and during the recruiting process you realize and learn what is real and what is fake,” Banks said. “I really was able to establish a great relationship with coach Smart and coach [Mike] Morrell at Texas. They had a legitimate desire to coach me, get me better, develop me and help me become the best person and player I could be.”
Banks, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound center, picked the Longhorns over Vanderbilt, Illinois, Notre Dame, Purdue and a host of other high major programs. Banks only took a pair of official visits.
“I took my first visit to Texas and my second visit to Vanderbilt and it was a close race between the two,” Banks said.
“As of late, I’ve been building a greater relationship with Shaka, feeling more comfortable with the staff as well as coming together with my mom,” he said. “I asked her where she would want me to go if it were her decision and we both agreed that Texas was the place for me.”
Banks said he’s drawn to more than just basketball at Texas and reiterated that the bonds he built with their staff are special.
“It factored in a huge part,” Banks said. “Not only the relationships, but Texas is a great academic institution and a great community. The relationship really played a part when it came to choosing a basketball school.”
“These are the guys I’m going to be with for possibly four years of my life,” he added, “I’ll see them more than I’ll see my own family. I’ll see them more than I’ll see my own friends. They’ll become my new family. It takes a certain level of trust to give your heart, your sweat and blood and I really felt comfortable giving it to coach Smart and coach Morrell at Texas.”
Banks emerged on the national scene this past spring at the Elite Preview, an event put on by HoopSeen in the Atlanta area. After a strong showing there, Banks continued to build his reputation with the Atlanta Celtics on the adidas Uprising summer circuit.
A four-star prospect, Banks is regarded as the No. 45 overall player and the No. 9 center in the 2016 recruiting class.
During the offseason Banks transferred from Atlanta (Ga.) Mount Vernon Presbyterian to La Porte (Ind.) La Lamiere School.
With the pledge, Texas now has a pair of commitments in their 2016 recruiting class. Banks joins four-star shooting guard Jacob Young, who is the brother of Indiana Pacer guard Joe Young, to make up their current recruiting class.