Two weeks ago, Ibrahim Johnson, the older brother of five-star Texas basketball commit Mohamed Bamba, brashly played his hand, releasing a 22-minute rant that seemingly trashed Bamba’s reputation and jeopardized his college eligibility. While entertaining, the effort turned out to be as fruitless as his prior attempt to become his brother’s agent, as the NCAA announced Tuesday that Bamba is clear to play for the Longhorns.
In a Facebook Live video, Johnson alleged that Detroit businessman Greer Love hooked Bamba up with free flights, new clothes and appliances, dental work, and credit card payments, or, as Johnson said, “all the shit that the NCAA will prosecute you for.” Love, who’s mentored Bamba since he was nine years old, quickly issued a statement to quell the growing shitstorm, claiming he routinely checked in with multiple former college compliance officers to ensure Bamba’s eligibility would remain intact.
It took two weeks, but the NCAA confirmed Love’s precautionary steps, announcing in a statement Tuesday afternoon that neither Bamba nor Love violated any of the NCAA’s recruiting rules—rules, it should be noted, that will continue to foster situations of intra-family blackmail and strife by strictly limiting athletes’ access to professional help while navigating the increasingly gross college recruiting landscape. Bamba will now immediately be available to Texas.
The organization’s decision comes as a relief to both Longhorns fans and head coach Shaka Smart, as Bamba will be sorely needed on a Texas team that finished 11-22 last season in Smart’s second year at the helm. Although the usual big-man questions about college-level conditioning and physicality will remain unanswered until the season opener, the 7-footer from Harlem sports a 7-foot-8 wingspan, decent off-ball and ball-handling skills, and elite shot-blocking capabilities in the paint—all aspects of Texas’ interior game that are sorely needed after freshman center Jarrett Allen elected to go pro.
As for his brother, considering the burned bridge between him and his first potential NBA client and his pretty-much-guaranteed lifetime ban from future Thanksgivings at Bamba’s estate, it seems likely that Johnson will pursue a different field of employment moving forward.