Shaka Smart Compares Mo Bamba To Gobert On Defense With Embiid Potential On Offense

Josh Clark
May 08, 2018 - 11:16 am
Mohamed Bamba and Shaka Smart

John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports


DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) - Shaka Smart, the University of Texas men's basketball coach, joined Shan and RJ on 105.3 The Fan Monday morning to discuss his thoughts on his time in Austin so far, Mohamed Bamba and much more. 

Here are some of the highlights from his appearance:

On how satisfied he is with his first three seasons at Texas: "We're really excited about the future. We've obviously been through some twists and turns. We've had some things happen to our team from a standpoint of injuries and obviously Andrew Jones' situation last year, that have been challenging," Smart said. "But, our guys have really grown in a lot of ways. I think we took a big step this past year. We've got a very good nucleus coming back next year, so we feel like it's going to be our best team."

Why should the Mavs draft Mohamed Bamba: 

"I would love to see the Mavs pick Mo Bamba. He's got phenomenal upside, and he's really just scratching the surface of what he can do as a player, particularly on the offensive end. We knew we'd only have him for one year, and I'm just really proud of the growth and progress that he made on and off the court at Texas," Smart said. "When you compare him to the other guys that's being considered as top draft picks ... I just think the exciting thing about Mo is that he has more potential than any of those guys. So, it's going to be interesting to see where he goes. Certainly, we'd love for him to stay in state."

How he sees Bamba fitting in today's NBA: 

"It's actually something we talk about a lot because it's starting to affect college basketball as well. But, the game at the NBA level in a lot of ways has gone positionless, and that center spot is where they want someone that can shoot. They want guys that can defend multiple positions. More and more often, teams are switching pick and roll situations, so even as a (center), you need to be able to guard other positions when you switch," Smart said.

The good thing with Mo is he has the potential to do all those things ... the shooting, the defensive components, he's a good passer ... He's just not there yet. He's 19-years-old and he's got some time to develop and continue to improve. I think he shows all the signs of someone that's going to be a versatile player. I think the centers that are going to be in trouble are the guys that play around the basket because the game's really changed."

Bamba's NBA comparison: "Defensively, there's (Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert), who Mo's very much like on defense. But, Gobert, if you talk to NBA guys, they say that he's the MVP of that team because he changes everything on defense. And, that's Mo.

On the offensive end, and some people might think this is a stretch, but I think he has the potential to be like Joel Embiid. When you look back at when Embidd was at Kansas for one year, he was less productive offensively than Mo was this year. Now, if you fast forward three-four years (to see what) Embiid is doing for the 76ers, I think Mo can be that good. He just obviously has to add strength and polish to his game."