Although Mohamed Bamba is one of the best players in the class of 2017, basketball is not the only thing that is on his mind on a daily basis. Bamba is not an athlete-student, but a student-athlete. When people hear "Bamba", they think of dancing deriving from Mexico, but soon they will be thinking of an individual.
Sometimes when basketball players are very tall, they don't appear to be strong. Kevin Durant is a prime of example this, which is why he has been dubbed the "Slim Reaper." Mohamed Bamba has a similar build. He has the height that makes him very appealing on the court, and that comes along with a great personality.
The big man did not really recognize that he was actually good at basketball and could make this a thing until probably mid-season this year at Westtown in Pennsylvania. Bamba described who helped him recognize his talents. "My teammates started to feed me the ball a lot and I was scoring the ball, so I thought 'why can't I do this'?", Bamba told Big East Coast Bias over the phone. It took the kid from Harlem a long time to recognize, but his teammates during the school year really helped him take his game up a notch from where it was.
When Bamba is just walking around, a lot of people automatically recognize him because it is not very often that you see someone that is really tall and lengthy. Bamba is a gym rat, and gets as much work in as he possibly can because he is preparing for one of the biggest AAU tournaments in the country, the Nike Peach Jam, as the PSA Cardinals qualified.
On the court, Bamba is a low post player that can score really easily when he is able to because he is not as strong, but he is athletic, which balances out the lack of strength. Bamba told Big East Coast Bias that he is "putting an emphasis on the strength" because he wants to dominate the low post as much as possible. The rebounding and blocking attributes are at tremendous level. Bamba also has the ability to shoot the ball really well from the mid-range area and now he is starting to shoot the ball from behind the arc, he told Big East Coast Bias because he does not just want to be a big man that just stays in the paint.
PSA Cardinals Terrance "Munich" Williams gave a full description of Mohamed's growth over the course of time
"Mohamed has made great strides on the court and is beginning to take ownership for his god given talents. He has NBA measurements; his overall game is still blossoming. Rebounding and finishing around the rim are his strengths. He's knocking down the 15-footer and an occasional 3-pointer here and there. His ball-handling is solid for a guy with his size", Williams told Big East Coast Bias. Bamba has shown qualities of being versatile.
The consistency is one aspect that he wants to work on when he is shooting the ball because he really wants to spend the summer showing that he can score regularly, and not just be a big man that can shoot once in a blue moon. So when he gets the chance, he knows he will have the confidence to shoot the ball. Bamba can handle the ball, but he wants to get to a point to where he is comfortable and confident at bringing the ball up. In the future, Bamba can see himself as a point-forward. Williams also told Big East Coast Bias that, "Bamba is a better person than basketball player".
Scout's recruiting director Evan Daniels gave his thoughts on the five star prospect. "He has a 9'5 standing reach, he has the type of body you are looking for, he has good hands, can score facing the rim, and he has al lot of upside.The one improvement that he needs to make is just to get stronger and playing more physical,
One of Bamba's AAU teammates, UVA 2016 commit Ty Jerome, gave his thoughts on Bamba, "Mohamed is the most humble top ranked player that I have ever met. Like PSA as a program. He enjoys the process, but is a great player and teammate".
Williams told Big East Coast about the personality of him off the court. "Mohamed is a gem. Great student, great kid and has the ultimate love and respect for his family. Could not ask anymore from the kid off the court. He comes from great stock and truly shows it on a daily basis". The message is that he cares about basketball, but also the people in his community. He is humble and always sends a message to the younger kids and just talks to them as much as he can. The message he tells them is, "Work hard and be a good student in the classroom, so you can play on the court", Bamba said.
Sidiki Johnson, who went to Providence, is Mohamed's older brother and he hasreally impacted him because he is giving his younger brother advice on how to handle the process and wants him to be in a good place recruiting-wise and not let it get to him on the court. To have someone like that is a big plus for Bamba because he has seen someone go through it, now he it is happening to him. There is a structured plan that he is following to keep it in well-fashioned manner and Bamba described the recruiting plan to Big East Coast Bias.
"I am only going to take up to a certain number of offers and I am approaching that number closely and then my junior year and I will get to know the coaches and colleges a little more and have a decision to during my senior year", Bamba said. The process is so that he will not get overwhelmed.
There is a long list of offers for Bamba all over the country, but there are three Big East schools that have offered Bamba (Villanova, St. John's, Seton Hall) and he went to visit the Red Storm last weekend. Bamba was very impressed with what Chris Mullin had to say and likes him as a person because he went to the school and came back. Mullin will have pro-style practices and Bamba likes the idea of that because he will get the experience of what things are like in the NBA if he commits to the Red Storm. Those offers do not stop the amount of time Bamba puts into the gym and his craft because he knows somebody can always take his spot
Villanova is one team that he was constantly watching this year being that he goes to school in Pennsylvania, but before that, he used to watch a lot of teams. The Wildcats are catching the eye of this five-star prospect.
Bamba is from the streets of New York, but goes to school in Pennsylvania and Villanova has been on him hard. Bamba said he likes Jay Wright a lot and what he has done since he has been there. Seton Hall is involved in Bamba's recruitment also and will continue to make a run after him, but it will be key they keep in contact with him because a lot of schools are trying to get involved and offer him. Bamba is not the main one handling the process right now because the people around him just want's him to focus on getting better as a basketball player, but during his junior year is when he will start to make relationships with coaches, but as of now, he is just having fun playing the game that he loves.
Outside of the recruiting and his personality, Bamba decided to share some of his best moments and some scenarios. Bamba's best moment was graduating from Cardigan with his friends. If he had to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr or Manny Pacquiao, he would fight Mayweather Jr, and he listens to all type of music.
Basketball does not just describe Bamba, he wants to make a mark in his community bigger than basketball. As a five-star prospect in the class of 2017 and the number one player in Pennsylvania, the expectations for the humble Bamba will always be high, not just from outsiders, but himself also.