TJ Bamba plans to move to Villanova, and is seen as a move to the NBA

Jonathan GiffoniESPN2 minutes to read

One of college basketball’s top transfers this spring, former Washington State guard TJ Bamba has committed to playing at Villanova next season, he told ESPN Friday.

Bamba said he chose Villanova over a host of schools including Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia Tech, Auburn, North Carolina and St. John’s.

“This gives me the best chance of reaching my ultimate goal of playing in the NBA,” Bamba said. “Players in my mind like Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo have been drafted from Villanova and have proven to be valuable pieces. I hope to follow in their footsteps.”

Bamba averaged 15.8 points in 32.2 minutes per game for Washington State last season, hitting 37.2% of 3, and was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention.

Bamba, who is from the Bronx, will return to the East Coast, where he played at KIPP High School in New York before moving to Colorado for his final two years of high school and eventually moving to Pullman, Washington.

“Playing in front of the family often played a major role in my decision,” Bamba said. “I’m looking forward to embracing the way Villanova and the battles the Big East is known for. I know there will be an adjustment to playing with a new coach and with new teammates, but the adjustment is easier when we all know people in common, we all know how to play high-level basketball, and we all have a goal.” common and is a win-win.”

Bamba would try to help Villanova get back on top after the Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament for the second time since 2005 in head coach Kyle Neptune’s first season.

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On Thursday, Villanova named former Quinnipiac coach Baker Dunleavy as its general manager, a new position focused on name, image and likeness deals, transfer portal, marketing and fundraising for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

“My goals for next season are to help return Villanova to dominance,” Bamba said. “I would love to win a Big East title and do a deep championship in March.

“My personal goal is to prove that I deserve to be selected in the 2024 edition as well as some of my future teammates. If we win as a group, we will all win as individuals.”

Bamba is currently testing the draft waters in the NBA and said he’s “serious about operation this year.”

Jonathan Giffoni is an NBA draft expert and founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a proprietary scouting and analytics service used by NBA, NCAA, and international teams.

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