University of Texas

Mohamed Bamba, nation’s No. 2 recruit, picks Texas over Duke, Kentucky

Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart landed the nation’s No. 2 recruit Thursday when five-star forward Mohamed Bamba committed to the Longhorns.

Now Smart, who struggled through a difficult season, will see if he can translate one of the country’s top recruiting classes into more victories.

Bamba, a 7-foot, 216-pound power forward from Harlem who attended Westtown School outside Philadelphia, announced his decision Thursday morning in a post titled “Ready to Rock” on The Players’ Tribune. He picked Texas over college basketball blue bloods Duke and Kentucky.

“When all was said and done, one school filled my decision jar the best,” Bamba wrote. “I’ve decided to attend the University of Texas. I will be heading there in early June to get to work.”

Bamba, a McDonald’s All-American, averaged 12.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.4 blocks as a senior. As a junior, Bamba helped lead Westtown to a state title.

Bamba boosts a sparkling class that includes top-five point guard Matt Coleman of Oak Hill Academy (Va.), guard Jase Febres (Houston Westfield), and forwards Royce Hamm (Aldine Davis) and Jericho Sims (Minneapolis).

The Longhorns’ class now is No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 4 nationally by the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Bamba’s pledge helps ease the loss of power forward Jarrett Allen to the NBA. Smart is still awaiting the decision of freshman guard Andrew Jones, who has declared for the NBA Draft but has not hired an agent and could return to Texas.

Texas missed the postseason while finishing last in the Big 12 at 4-14 and 11-22 overall.