Westtown School's Mohamed Bamba says he was especially motivated coming into Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League earlier this month at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, Va.
"I was ranked No. 22 in the Class of 2017 by ESPN," the 6-foot-10, 205-pound center said. "I wanted to show that there weren't 21 players better than me."
The junior-to-be was so impressive while playing for the PSA Cardinals AAU squad that he added scholarship offers from Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Syracuse, and Florida State.
Bamba, a five-star prospect who averaged about 12 points and eight rebounds for Westtown last season, already had offers from Penn State, Maryland, Rice, Seton Hall, Temple, and Villanova, among others.
"Mo is amazingly talented, coordinated, and smart," Westtown coach Seth Berger said. "You rarely see a 6-10 kid who can play all five positions. He shoots well, can dribble, has good hands, and, of course, is a good shot blocker. He has a chance to be a Hall of Fame player."
A native of Harlem in New York, Bamba went to Westtown, in West Chester, in the fall after two years at Cardigan Mountain, an independent boarding school for boys in grades six through nine in Canaan, N.H.
On Monday afternoon, Bamba, 16, played in a game of three-on-three with his Westtown teammates while Temple coach Fran Dunphy, Villanova assistant Kyle Neptune, and Maryland assistant Orlando "Bino" Ranson watched from the bleachers.
"I'm used to it by now," Bamba said. "Still, it's humbling. I know I'm truly blessed to be in this position. Now, it's up to me to work hard and make the most of it."
Last season, Bamba helped the Moose go 25-8 and advance to the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association final before losing to Phelps School, 50-46.
"It was a real learning experience," he said. "I think it's brought us closer together as a team."
Bamba is the latest elite big man to play at Westtown. Daniel Ochefu, a 6-11, 245-pound junior forward at Villanova, was ranked 11th in the nation in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU.com. "He's like my older brother," Bamba said.
Tony Carr: Roman Catholic, basketball, junior guard. Offers from: Indiana, La Salle, Maryland, Penn State, and Temple, among others.
Andre Mintze: Imhotep Charter, football, junior defensive end. Offer from: Connecticut. Interest from: Boston College, Duke, Florida Atlantic, and Pittsburgh, among others.
Tymir Oliver: West Catholic, football, junior defensive end. Offers from: Boston College, Illinois, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Temple, among others.
Edvinas Rupkas: Westtown, basketball, senior guard. Offer from: St. Peter's. Interest from: LIU-Brooklyn and Quinnipiac.
Anthony Russo: Archbishop Wood, football, junior quarterback. Offers from: Bucknell, Connecticut, Monmouth, Rutgers, and Temple.
Yeedee Thaenrat: Father Judge, football, junior defensive back. Offers from: Army, Boston College, Navy, Purdue, and Rutgers, among others.
Charly Timite: Simon Gratz, football, junior defensive end. Interest from: Boston College, Penn State, Rutgers, Temple, Towson, and Penn State, among others.
- Rick O'Brien