Sometimes, we at Bright Side get the pleasure of guests sharing their thoughts on the team.
Today, we are fortunate enough to hear from Wesley Brown, a scout last season for the Texas Legends of the G-League. Wes grew up a Suns fan, and wants to share some of his professional insights into college prospects ahead of the 2018 NBA Draft.
You can find Wes at NBAprospects.com and he publishes a weekly scouting report called the Monday Morning Scouting Report across the NBA. This week’s report is right here, as Mo Bamba might be a great target for the Suns if they drop to 3 or 4 in the draft after the lottery.
Monday Morning Scouting Report
Mohamed “Mo” Bamba
C, Freshman, Texas
- Born: May 12, 1998 (Almost 20)
- Hometown: Harlem, NY
- Height: 6’11
- Wingspan: 7’9
- Weight: 225 lbs
- 2017 McDonald’s All-American
- Played in the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit (Team USA website)
- Played in the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic (USA Today)
- #3 in the ESPN 100 for 2017
- Played AAU for the PSA (Pro Scholars Athletics) Cardinals (WNY.com, ProScholarsAthletics.com)
- Won Gold for Team USA in the 2016 FIBA U-18 Tournament (PAPrepLive.com)
Articles and Interviews
- Bamba made a mature decision to get out of Harlem and attend Cardigan where he was not allowed to use a cell phone and was amongst the children of professionals (doctors, lawyers etc…) (CBSsports.com)
- Half-Brothers Ibrahim and Sidiki Johnson have had serious off-court issues (NBC Sports)
- Sidiki Johnson, who played NCAA basketball at Arizona and Providence, is serving a 4- year sentence for 2nd degree attempted robbery and 3 rd degree robbery (NBC Sports)
- Ibhrahim Johnson has been arrested several times all over the country for possession of marijuana, forgery, and a hit-and-run (NBC Sports)
- Ibrahim tried to expose Bamba for accepting a cash gift as revenge for Bamba not keeping him in his entourage (NBC Sports)
- Bamba’s mentor is Greer Love (247sports.com) - “Greer Love, who is the vice-president at Huron Capital in Michigan, met Mohamed Bamba nine years ago, as part of a comprehensive after-school program at Alain L. Locke Elementary School in Bamba’s native Harlem. The program, which Love founded in 2008, called “Locke’s Lions,” consisted of study tables, basketball practice, and league competition. Love has supplied academic and financial support to nearly every student who was on the roster in 2008 or 2009, helping them navigate the challenging periods of middle school, high school, and often college.” (247sports.com)
- Incredibly impressive in interviews, speaks very well
- Says he would have liked to have gone straight to the NBA to get a head start on developing (ESPN)
- Most looking forward to playing against Joel Embiid. Bamba said he spent a week with Embiid recently (Interview on The Jump)
- Has been working on developing the mechanics of his outside shot (ESPN)
- Bamba says he wants to be a guy who can stretch the floor from the 5, but also be a rim protector
- “Making sure that my jump shot resembled more of a jump shot -- you know, everything was smooth -- rather than a catapult,” Bamba said. “I recently lowered my pocket, and my follow-through looks good and everything is smooth. I still got ways to go with my jump shot. But I’m pretty happy with the progression that I’ve made.” (ESPN)
- Appears to be a leader, High School coach at Westtown Seth Berger said players listen to him (SI.com)
- Berger said he processes information very quickly (SI.com)
- Bamba appears highly intelligent, and has attended the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference twice (SBNation.com)
- Bamba visited China as part of a community service project through his High School Westtown where he worked with migrant children and helped run basketball clinics (SBNation.com)
- Wrote a High School Diary for SLAM Magazine in 2017 (SLAMonline.com)
- Ayton says Bamba is incredibly hard to score on because of his long arms (SBNation)
- Missed 1 game in November 2017 against New Hampshire because of a concussion he suffered in practice (MySanAntonio.com)
- Missed 3 games late in the season (February, March 2018) with an unknown left toe injury (ESPN)
Freshman Season Stats
12.9 PPG - 10.5 RPG - 0.5 APG - 3.6 BPG - 0.8 SPG - 54.1% FG (4.9/9) - 60.3% 2 FG (4.4/7.3) - 27.5% 3 FG (0.5/1.7) - 68.1% FT (2.7/4) - 1.5 TO - 2.5 PF
- 1st in rebounds per game and total rebounds (316) in the Big 12 in 2017-18
- 1st in blocks per game in the Big 12 in 2017-18
- 1st in defensive rating in the Big 12 in 2017-18
- 1st in total rebound percentage in the Big 12 in 2017-18 (20.2%)
- 2nd in blocks per game in the entire NCAA in 2017-18
- 2nd in block percentage in the Big 12 in 2017-18 (12.9%)
- 2nd in defensive win shares in the Big 12 in 2017-18
- 3rd in the block percentage in the entire NCAA in 2017-18
- Incredible per 100 possession rating of 118.5 offensively vs. 89.6 defensively
- His conference per game numbers were actually better than his non-conference numbers
- November 10, 2017 vs. Northwestern State - Called for the ball in the post - Runs the floor pretty well - Can move between guarding the paint and closing out on the perimeter pretty quickly - Lacks consistent physicality in the post, very thin - Moves his feet well on the perimeter, incredible length - Block in the post, didn’t swing down, kept arms straight up - Good hands catching in the post - Swished 2 FTs, shot release is a little high, but has a good looking natural stroke – went 3/4 for the game - Needs to learn to keep the ball up after a deep catch - Doesn’t have a quick first jump - Catch and shoot straightaway 3 as the trailer – missed, but just deep – showed shooter’s footwork and looked comfortable shooting it in rhythm - Catches as cutter and hits throwback dunk – well coordinated - Tips in alley-oop attempt off the backboard, good touch
- January 20, 2018 at West Virginia - Guarding Sagaba Konate - Drove right from halfcourt, under control, blocked at the rim – Bamba has the handle and coordination to drive straight to the rim, but has no moves, he just goes straight up. The same thing happened against Northwestern State. If you show on him he’ll charge - Block on ball on Konate - Lets some rebounds go over him and lets himself get boxed out too easily – needs to add strength - Closes under control, doesn’t reach or swat down with his arms - Hits bank shot in the post - Quick extra pass on perimeter for an open 3 - Block on-ball in post - Quick going up on catch in post, kept ball high for layup - Good touch around the rim - 1/2 FTs, looked flat, didn’t release off his fingertips, no arc, looked like a bit of a sling - Missed 3 pointer, shot looked like a sling again - Moves well from weakside to help, solid shot blocking instincts - Willing passer
- February 3, 2018 vs. Oklahoma - Hands are pretty strong on the catch - Runs the floor well but needs to work harder to get back on D - Pick and pop 3 in and out – with an improved release and more arc, I think he can hit it consistently - Quick spin move in the post, hook shot missed in-and-out - Go-to move is the hook shot over his left shoulder, gets deep in the paint on it and hits it consistently - Plays a little lackadaisical - Slow recovering off the slip and gives up a dunk - Beautiful full court pass in transition, nice touch - Almost never gets back in transition - Slow changing directions, needs to improve his effort showing on screens and recovering - Good hang-time and impressive coordination to catch and dunk reverse alley-oop in transition
Here are some of Bamba’s highlights, courtesy of youtube.
Bamba has incredible potential but we don’t yet know what he is. He is already a good shot blocker with incredible length, but he needs to add some thickness and be more aggressive on the boards. He does not box out consistently and needs to improve his effort.
Bamba is not fed many opportunities in the paint, but he has shown good touch and already possesses a nice spin move and hook shot. Bamba has a solid looking jumper, and I think he will become a good 3 point shooter, especially considering he has already lowered his release point. He moves pretty well from the perimeter as well, but doesn’t have perimeter moves or a pullup game yet. He has yet to tap most of his potential, and I think the onus will be on whoever drafts him to mould him into the player they want.
In addition, Bamba appears to be an incredibly mature and personable adult who articulates his thoughts well. He has the “it” factor that everyone will look to as a leader.
Bamba has to develop more than most of the other top prospects, but he has the athletic ability, length, shot blocking instincts, and touch to become a unicorn. I am not sure if he has the aggression to tap out his potential on both ends in the paint, but I think Bamba is actually a safe, low risk pick with high reward. His length is such a disruptor on the defensive end.
I would feel more comfortable taking Bamba over Jaren Jackson Jr. I think Bamba is a better defensive prospect than DeAndre Ayton, who lacks some defensive help instincts, but has produced much better numbers and already possesses a more polished offensive skillset.
I would draft Ayton over Bamba, but I am definitely more comfortable relying on Bamba’s shot-changing ability at the next level than any one skill Ayton possesses.
I would draft Bamba in the 5-8 range, depending on the team.