The nation's No. 2 overall player in 2017, Bamba made waves Thursday when he announced his intentions to play basketball for Smart at Texas.
Bamba made his announcement via The Players Tribune, where he mentioned the development of Jarrett Allen as just one of the many reasons he chose to sign with the University of Texas.
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. -- Mohamed Bamba, The Players Tribune.
Smart landing Bamba is a huge and necessary win for the head coach, who some Texas fans have been questioning if he is the right man for the job following the Longhorns' 11-22 record in his second season coaching in Austin. The addition of Bamba gives the Longhorns needed size and skill for next season.
"Mo has a lot of skill for a guy that size. He's very, very mobile, he's obviously long and he's getting stronger," Smart said of Bamba. "He's done a good job in the past several months gaining strength.
"For any big guy, with the jump from high school to college, one of the big points of emphasis is continue to get stronger, continue to add weight and being able to handle the physicality as you go to another level.
"He's probably best known for what he does on the defensive end, but I think he has a lot of offensive talent. He's got a really good skill set -- he can shoot the ball, he's someone who can step away from the basket, he can pass the ball, he can finish around the basket -- there's a lot of good things he does."
Bamba's commitment gives Smart his sixth signee in 2017.