Bamba commits to Villanova, eyes NBA

Former Washington State guard TJ Bamba, one of college basketball’s top transfers this spring, has committed to play at Villanova next season, he told ESPN on Friday.

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

“This gives me the best opportunity to reach my ultimate goal of playing in the NBA,” Bamba said. “Players in my mold like Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo were drafted out of Villanova and proved to be valuable pieces. My hope is to follow in their footsteps.”

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

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

“Playing in front of family played a big role in my decision,” Bamba said. “I’m looking forward to taking on the Villanova Way and the battles that the Big East is known for. I know there will be an adjustment playing with a new coach and new teammates, but the adjustments are easier when we all know each other’s people, we all know how to perform at a high level. There’s basketball to be played, and we all have a goal to win.”

Bamba will try to help Villanova dominate after the Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament for the second time since 2005 in coach Kyle Neptune’s debut season.

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

“My goal for next season is to lead Villanova to dominance,” Bamba said. “I want to win a Big East title and make a deep tournament run in March.

“My personal goal is to prove that I deserve to be picked in the 2024 draft and some of my future teammates. If we can win as a group, we all win as individuals.”

Bamba is currently testing the NBA draft waters and said he is “serious about the process this year.”

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and founder and co-owner of, a private scouting and analytics service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.

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