But Bamba's arrival adds a 7-foot star to Smart's top-10 recruiting class, and proves - despite last year's struggles - that Smart is still one of the nation's strongest recruiters.
Mohamed Bamba, the top uncommitted player in the Class of 2017, announced that he will attend Texas next season, choosing the Longhorns over Kentucky.
In his letter, the Harlem (New York) native said he bonded with Shaka Smart when he played under the Texas coach on Team USA (U18) last summer. The Longhorns' class now ranks fourth nationally, according to 247Sports. "He's as unique a person and player as I've been around". He plans to go to Texas' School of Business. His attention to detail is truly unbelievable - I can't tell you how many times he picked up on something I mentioned in passing and brought it back full circle several months later. Freshman center Jarrett Allen has entered this year's National Basketball Association draft and freshman guard Andrew Jones is still considering whether to return to Texas. "I can see and feel their passion and I'm excited about aligning myself with them for a lifetime of support and learning".
"I can't say enough about the strides my friend Jarrett Allen made this past year", Bamba wrote. "Oh, and the weather. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to some sunshine after 19 years of NY and Philly winters!" Speaking with MLive at the McDonald's All-American Game, Bamba said he kept regular contact with MI coach John Beilein and that he was still considering the Wolverines. He also helped Westtown register a 26-6 record in his sophomore season in 2014-15.
"I want my son to get the best education possible", said Bamba's mother, Aminata Johnson.
Bamba, the top remaining player in the class of 2017 chose Texas over Duke and Kentucky after also visiting MI.