Bamba declared eligible by NCAA

Michael Shapiro

Incoming freshman center Mohamed Bamba will be eligible to suit up for the Longhorns in 2017-18. Questions regarding his status began in June, when Bamba’s half-brother Ibrahim Johnson made a Facebook Live video, alleging that Bamba accepted cash and gifts from financial advisor Greer Love.

But the NCAA ruled on Tuesday that Johnson’s claims were false, and Bamba’s relationship with Greer was within compliance of eligibility rules.

"After evaluating all available information, the NCAA determined the assistance Greer Love provides to Mohamed Bamba does not violate rules,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Bamba remains certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center."

Bamba will enter his freshman year with the Longhorns as the nation’s No. 2 recruit per 247sports. Texas beat out perennial-championship contenders Duke and Kentucky for the 6’11 centers’ commitment, surprising many in the college basketball world.

The Harlem, New York native earned a spot on the Naismith Trophy High School All-America first team as senior last year, and also appeared for Team USA in the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit. Bamba is a presence to be reckoned with in the paint, a prolific shot blocker and rebounder.

"I'm extremely excited that Mo has chosen Texas," head coach Shaka Smart said upon Bamba’s commitment in May. "He's as unique a person and player as I've been around. Mo's combination of talent, intellect and ability to impact others will make him a catalyst in our program and on our campus from day one."

Bamba will be the third highly-recruited big man to join Texas in the past four seasons. Current Indiana Pacer Myles Turner entered the program as the No. 2 recruit in the country in 2014, and recent Brooklyn Nets draft pick Jarrett Allen was the No. 17 recruit upon joining the Longhorns in 2016. Both spent only one season in Austin before declaring for the NBA Draft.