NBPA Top 100: Bamba creates stir
Technically speaking, Bamba's ascension to national prominence began during the winter. However, it has been his play with his club team, the PSA Cardinals, and in individual camps such as NBPA that has turned him into one of the truly elite prospects in the class of 2017. The No. 15 player in his class, Bamba has been steady in his production and effort. Bamba, a skinny 6-foot-11, 205-pounder from Harlem, N.Y., makes up for what he lacks in bulk with ability and long-term upside.
He has shown a willingness to bang around in the paint, he's altered shots defensively, been a factor on the glass and proven that he can step out to around 12 feet and comfortably make shots. Bamba, who plays his high school ball at the Westtown (Pa.) School, is happy to see the work paying off. "It all started with hard work," Bamba said. "Last summer I was in the gym, then this winter I was in the gym and I'll be in the gym this summer too." With offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova, St. John's, Connecticut, Missouri, Syracuse, Texas and many more, Bamba is as hot a prospect as there is in the rising junior class. His lofty ranking is likely to keep moving up and he's still far from satisfied. "It absolutely makes me want to go harder," Bamba said. "If people have something that they expect me to be I want to do everything I can do to exceed those expectations." Friday morning notes and news Class of 2017 five-star power forward Billy Preston has been good all camp. However, the 6-foot-9 scorer was at his very best during an extremely impressive 24-point, 13-rebound effort. He's got size, he's skilled and he's playing like he has something to prove. There's a reason programs Kansas, Texas, Baylor, N.C. State, Texas A&M and many more have made their desire to get him known. Notre Dame commitment Temple Gibbs has been solid but not spectacular all camp. Friday morning, he had his best game, scoring 19 points and grabbing four rebounds. He's a strong off-guard who shoots well with his feet set and he has the type of high basketball IQ that should make him a good fit in South Bend. The recipient of recent offers from N.C. State and Iowa State, four-star point guard Jaylen Fisher from the class of 2016, had his best game. Showing better command of his quickness and improved feel for the game, Fisher did a nice job of blending drives with medium to deep jumpers. He was very good on the glass for a point guard and made smart passes during a 17-point, eight-rebound and three-assist game. Georgia nabbed a good one in four-star guard Tyree Crump. He's between a shooting guard and point guard in that he's got point guard size but is more comfortable playing off the ball as a two. But, Crump is one of those guys who should just be considered a basketball player who produces and to whom traditional position values don't really apply. He is quick, he can defend and he plays at full speed. Class of 2017's Trae Young came up clutch on Friday morning. The top 30 player first hit a three from the left wing as time expired to force overtime. Then in the sudden death OT he started and ended things with a salty drive-and-finish through traffic. It was likely his best game of camp and he finished with 18 points and two assists.
One of the most entertaining players at camp, Mamadi Diakite, has done a lot of the little things that go unnoticed. In particular, the four-star power forward has been as good a communicator with teammates as anybody in the camp. There's been multiple times where he's barked at guards for not getting the big men involved or delivering passes. Diakite is still skinny, but the rising senior is quick, runs the floor like a sprinter and is a pogo stick around the rim. Committed to Gonzaga, 6-foot-11 center Zach Collins has been solid all camp. He has rebounded, scored with jump hooks and short finishes off the glass and he's run the floor. Friday, he showed a little bit of edge as he and Javin Delaurier got mixed up and had some words. Collins finished with eight points and 12 rebounds. The No. 131 player in the class of 2016, power forward Lucas Siewert, is another who has quietly gone about his business and had a solid camp. A face-up four-man who is a dangerous shooter to the three-point line, it hasn't been a surprise to see him swishing jumpers. Instead it's been his rebounding that has been the most pleasant surprise. Siewert has made the extra effort to crash the glass and play with some physicality. He was good for 13 points and eight rebounds on Friday.
|Mohamed Bamba credits his recent rise to his work ethic.|
|Mamadi Diakite has been a leader with his summer team.|