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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / December 11.
  • Mohamed Bamba Takes Official to Kentucky, Duke Up Next

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    Mohamed Bamba took his official visit to Kentucky this weekend and was at Rupp Arena for No. 5 Kentucky’s 85-69 win over No. 24 South Carolina on Saturday evening.

    Freshman guard Malik Monk went for 27 points in the win, and freshman big man Bam Adebayo added 18. Freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox left the game with an ankle injury and returned in a walking boot and sporting crutches, but head coach John Calipari said after the game he didn’t think it was serious.

    Mark Carter, one of Bamba’s coaches with the Nike-sponsored PSA Cardinals, thinks Bamba is a special player who could follow in the footsteps of recent Kentucky bigs Anthony Davis, Boogie Cousins and Karl-Anthony Towns.

    “Mohamed has one of the most unique skillsets in the country,” Carter told ZAGSBLOG. “His ridiculous length allows him to be one of the premier defensive players our time has seen. He has made strides continuously on the offensive end. Once he puts it all together, it’s lights out.

    “If UK landed Mo, they’ll see a player very reminiscent of NBA All-Star [starter] Anthony Davis. The way both of those guys affect the game on both of the floor is second to none.”

    Bamba also apparently visited American Pharoah at Coolmore America, which bills itself as “home of the finest stallions in North America.”

    Bamba, the 6-foot-11 big man from Westtown (PA) School, has now taken official visits to Michigan, Texas and Kentucky. He plans to trip to Duke Feb. 26-28, with a decision sometime in late March or early April. Bamba, who may not end up taking his fifth official visit, will play in the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 29 in Chicago.

    “Yeah, definitely probably toward the end of March, early April,” he said last weekend at the Hoophall Classic. “I kind of want to get home after spring break. I kind of want to do final visits with the coaches and then make a decision after that.”

    Kentucky coach John Calipari visited Bamba recently at his school and also saw him play in December in Pottstown, Pa.

    Several fellow McDonald’s All-Americans are in Bamba’s ear about joining them on campus, with Kentucky-bound point guard Quade Green, Duke-bound forward Wendell Carter and Texas-bound point guard Matt Coleman all saying last weekend they are recruiting the Harlem native.

    Bamba said Green had been “relentless” in his recruitment.

    “They’re coming after me pretty hard,” Bamba said in reference to both Green and new Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo, both of whom played with Bamba on the gold-medal winning USA U18 team last summer. “I’m going to use Hami as pretty much an informant because he’s there and he knows what it’s like and he’s going literally straight out of high school to start mid-season so I’m going to use him as a resource.”

    Kentucky already has Nick Richards, Jarred Vanderbilt and P.J. Washington committed in the frontcourt in 2017 (along with Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the backcourt) and could return Wenyen Gabriel, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.