Head coach Shaka Smart and the Longhorns have high hopes for the 2017-18 basketball season. And much of that hope centers around incoming freshman Mohamed “Mo” Bamba, the No. 3 overall recruit in the ESPN 100.
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Bamba recently sat down with Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports to discuss his goals for his freshman season. He didn’t play coy about his plans, suggesting he’ll only be in Austin for one season.
“I try to live in the moment as much as possible,” Bamba said. “But I’d be sitting here lying to your face if I told you my goals and aspirations weren’t to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.”
Still, the five-star Harlem native has his eyes on some pretty lofty goals for Texas’ 2017 season. He saw the Longhorns limp their way to an 11–22 record in 2016-17, and he aims to bring a massive turnaround this winter.
“I want to be a guy that comes here that changes everything,” Bamba said. “We and I say that because I mean it — we were 11-22 last year. I just want to change that and be in San Antonio at the end of next season in the Final Four.”
Bamba also took the opportunity to discuss a video that surfaced in late June of his brother accusing him of accepting improper benefits as a recruit. Now cleared by the NCAA, Bamba said he’s relieved the controversy is behind him after thinking the video was “comical” at first.
“When it started to get national attention, the joke of it started to fade,” Bamba said. “I tell people this all the time — I’m very happy that it happened now instead of during the season when my teammates would have been more focused on it and put us all in a bad spot.”
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Bamba highlights the Longhorns’ No. 5 ranked recruiting class, according to the 247 Sports team rankings. He’ll get his first chance to impress NBA scouts and lead a Texas turnaround when the Longhorns open their season in November.