Mohamed Bamba: Going Pro from HS Would've 'Taken My Game to the Next Level'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2018

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2018, file photo, Texas forward Mohamed Bamba (4) dunks in front of Oklahoma guard Trae Young (11) and forward Brady Manek (35) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Norman, Okla. Bamba was named to the AP All-Big 12 team, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Big man Mohamed Bamba declared for the NBA draft following one collegiate season with the Texas Longhorns, but he believes spending the 2017-18 campaign in the professional ranks would have been beneficial.

He said jumping straight from high school into the NBA would have "taken my game to the next level" while appearing on ESPN's The Jump, via ESPN.com.

"But at the same time, I could have had a year of NBA development and had a year head start," Bamba said while still granting his time at Texas was valuable. "So, obviously, I would love to have that opportunity if it was there for me."

Bamba took advantage of his one year in the collegiate ranks by averaging 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game behind 54.1 percent shooting from the field.

The topic of the one-and-done rule, which prevents prospects from entering the NBA draft until they are at least one year removed from high school, was under the spotlight Wednesday. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association has discussed eliminating the rule by the 2020 draft.

The Commission on College Basketball, which includes 12 people and is led by Condoleezza Rice, also released a report Wednesday that made a number of recommendations.

Matt Norlander of CBS Sports noted ending the one-and-done rule was among them, as was allowing undrafted underclassmen to return to school and stricter penalties for those who break college basketball's rules.

As for Bamba, he figures to be one of the first prospects taken in the 2018 draft even though he wasn't allowed to jump straight from high school into the NBA last year.

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report ranked the Texas product as the seventh-best player on his big board and pointed to a wingspan in the 7'9" range, which will allow Bamba to protect the rim on the defensive side.

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