For Kentucky, there may not be a more important recruit in 2017 than Mohamed Bamba.
The five-star big man out of Westtown School (NY), Bamba is ranked as the second-best recruit in the 2017 class by Scout.com and the fourth-best by ESPN. The 6-11, 207-pounder has a freakish wingspan that has some calling Bamba an Anthony Davis-type player.
That gives you an idea of how important Bamba is to UK and every other program recruiting him. Between UK losing 6-8 players in 2017 and the AD comp, Bamba sees UK as an attractive destination for his one year of college basketball.
It also helps that he really likes John Calipari. In a recent blog post for USA Today, Bamba talked about his relationship with Calipari and how he's among the best coaches to just talk with.
"One of my favorite parts about this process is getting to know the coaches," Bamba said. "I love talking to Coach Shaka at Texas. I think it’s because he’s a little younger and he always finds a way to connect with me. I love talking to Coach Cal too; he always finds a way to teach me something in our conversations. I know he’s dedicated to me getting better."
Bamba also said there is no timetable to set his list or schedule official visits to schools. That makes sense, as a spring decision is the likely scenario.
Being that Bamba is essentially down to Duke and Kentucky, he should wait until around April to see who is staying and going at both schools. Between Marques Bolden and Chase Jeter possibly returning in 2017-18 with the likely addition of Wendell Carter Jr., Duke's frontcourt may be a little too crowded for Bamba's taste.
At UK, the Cats may have only Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard returning next year, though Sacha Killeya-Jones also may be back. That isn't nearly as crowded, which would allow Bamba to be the workhorse in the paint.
We're still a ways away from seeing Bamba make a decision, but it will be well worth the wait for this elite big man.