There are a still a few huge names out there in the 2017 recruiting class, and Mohamed Bamba is one of them.
Ranked fifth in the ESPN 100, the center from Westtown School in Pennsylvania is one of the most sought-after recruits still on the board. Kentucky has been viewed as the team to beat for a while,
According to ESPN Insider’s Jeff Borzello, his visits to Kentucky, as well as Kentucky already having his teammates and friends in the class, may have pulled them ahead for good.
Confidence level: 60 percent
Other contenders: Texas, Duke, Michigan
Over the past few weeks, though, the Wildcats and Blue Devils made their moves. Kentucky hosted Bamba on an official visit in January, after also getting him on campus for Big Blue Madness back in October. Duke hosted him last weekend, and was hoping to sell him on its need for an impact big man next season.
Talking to people around his recruitment, Kentucky is the team to beat -- although Duke getting the final official visit always strikes fear into opposing recruiters. The Wildcats have AAU teammate Quade Green and close friend Hamidou Diallo already in the fold for next season, with Diallo currently on campus sitting out the spring semester. Texas hasn’t backed off at all, with head coach Shaka Smart meeting with Bamba last week before the Duke visit and keeping close tabs on him throughout the high school season. Michigan is also still in the mix, as there are some Ann Arbor ties in Bamba’s circle.
Borzello also says that Bamba will likely wait several weeks before making his decision, as well as Duke appears to be third in the pecking order behind Kentucky and Texas.
Bamba would be another huge get for the Cats, adding to the depth of their class. Five-star center Nick Richards has already committed to UK, but you can never have too many good big men.
Richards is also viewed as a true center, whereas Bamba is a guy who wants to play the 4 spot in college, so we could see both of them starting next season if Bamba comes to Lexington.
It’s still a close recruiting battle, but Kentucky is ahead and it seems as though Duke getting the last visit didn’t do as much as they would have hoped.