Texas center Mo Bamba, who touts an NBA draft combine-record 7-foot-10 wingspan, was taken by the Orlando Magic with the sixth pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Bamba, who has celebrated his New York roots while in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, has drawn comparisons to Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Unlike Gobert, however, Bamba has developed a 3-point shot to go with his 7-foot, 234-pound frame.
“It means the world to me, to come back to the city and be drafted right where I started everything,” the Harlem native told ESPN after being selected. “It’s just surreal to me. I mean, words can’t describe how I feel right now.”
In his lone season with the Longhorns, he averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game, and he has spent time trying to improve his shooting since leaving school for the draft.
“My mechanics are so much better,” said Bamba, who has been working with noted shooting specialist Drew Hanlen. “My landings are softer. I lowered my [shooting] pocket. I’ve got my elbow out. The ball is coming off my two guide fingers. It looks really smooth. I’m also shooting it a lot quicker. At Texas I was getting my shot off in 0.93 seconds, and now I’m getting it off in 0.72.”
Bamba told ESPN that Orlando expects him to contribute right away.
“I’m super fortunate to be heading down there, I’m super happy, and I just can’t wait to get down there,” Bamba said.