TEENAGER Mohamed Bamba is like nothing the NBA has ever seen before.
The 18-year-old high school student from Harlem, New York, has already been bestowed with a superhero alter ego because of his insane physical attributes.
Those same attributes have made him one of the most in-demand potential college basketball players in the United States. He’s already one of the first names mentioned when the experts and scouts discuss the 2018 NBA Draft.
That’s no stretch.
The real stretch in this story is Bamba’s freakish wingspan.
Even the centre from Westtown School in Pennsylvania was shocked to hear about his not-to-scale finger tip to finger tip measurements.
If the talented rim protector were to be placed alongside every player in the NBA right now, Bamba would have the second greatest wingspan in the league.
Only Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert with a wingspan of 2.35m can claim to have a longer reach than Bamba’s wingspan of 2.34m.
But, the truly freakish consideration of Bamba’s athletic build is that his crazy reach contrasts with his 2.11m, 93kg maturing frame. Gobert stands a full 5cm taller at 2.16m.
“I didn’t realise it until NBA Top 100 camp this year when they gave me 7’8,” Bamba told Bleacher Report last year about his wingspan.
“I was thinking it would be like 7’4 or 7’3, and that’s pretty good. But 7’8 was kind of ridiculous.”
It’s a scary advantage that has captured the attention of almost every top college basketball program in the USA.
According to reports, Bamba has received offers from Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas and Connecticut. At least they are the reported front-runners in the race to sign him up for his expected one-year college ball career.
It’s not hard to see why.
He has been creating headlines ever since he was invited to USA Basketball junior mini-camp last year.
He stood out then too.
American scouting service Rivals currently has Bamba listed as the No. 4 top prospect playing college ball next year.
That isn’t good enough for Bamba’s own lofty standards.
The driven talent has previously admitted he has his eyes set on securing the 2017 Naismith Prep Player of the Year award — issued annually to the best high school basketballer in the USA. Australian Ben Simmons won the gong in 2015.
“It’s something I’ve been shooting for,” Bamba told USA Today.
“That’s a goal that I’m setting for myself is to be the best. I’m not playing just to be one of those guys who hangs around. I want to be the best.”
He’s had no problems dealing with the pressure and expectations he has placed on himself.
It’s only been recently that he committed himself to trying to make a career out of his sport.
“It actually took me a while to love the game of basketball.” Bamba said last year.
“It used to feel like an obligation. Like I was tall, I had to love basketball. But it wasn’t until the last year that I really embraced my love for basketball.”
For all of these reasons, American website Bleacher Report recently teamed up with Bamba to discuss his freakish physical capabilities to introduce him to American basketball fans.
It might be the first time you’ve heard of Mohamed Bamba, but it won’t be the last time.