The NBA has never seen a player like Mo Bamba.
A top prospect for the 2018 NBA Draft, Bamba averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game during his lone season at the University of Texas. While the numbers are nice, it’s his tantalizing blend of size and athleticism—and the limitless potential that comes along with it—that’s most exciting NBA scouts.
Let’s start with his size. At the recent NBA Draft Combine, Bamba measured a hair over 6-foot-11 while weighing 225.6 pounds. Bamba’s standing reach of 115.5 inches was the second-highest in Combine history, but it was 7-foot-10 wingspan that grabbed the most attention. That’s the largest wingspan in Combine history, beating Rudy Gobert’s previous record by an inch-and-a-half.
Now here’s where things get really nuts. During a recent workout with the Chicago Bulls, Bamba reportedly ran a three-quarter-court sprint in just 3.04 seconds. How crazy is that? Well, Russell Westbrook clocked a 3.08 in that same drill during the 2008 NBA Draft Combine. In fact, notorious speed demons like John Wall, Victor Oladipo and Dwyane Wade all clocked slower times than Bamba’s 3.04 seconds at their respective Combines.
Bamba did not run the drill at the NBA Combine, so it’s not quite apples to apples, but it’s still wildly impressive. His gigantic strides surely help him cover more ground than your average NBA player, but long strides can only take you so far. A recent Sports Illustrated feature revealed that Bamba is spending nearly eight hours a day on his training, which includes daily sessions with a skills coach, fitness coach, and physical therapist. Whatever he’s doing, it appears to be working.
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