2017 No. 2 recruit Mohamed Bamba comes up big in battle vs. No. 1 DeAndre Ayton

2017 No. 2 recruit Mohamed Bamba comes up big in battle vs. No. 1 DeAndre Ayton

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2017 No. 2 recruit Mohamed Bamba comes up big in battle vs. No. 1 DeAndre Ayton

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Mohamed Bamba of Westtown (West Chester, Pa.), and a Harlem native, outplayed DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 2017 prospect at the Nike EYBL Saturday at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. (Photo: Jim Halley, USA Today Sports).

Mohamed Bamba of Westtown (West Chester, Pa.), and a Harlem native, outplayed DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 2017 prospect at the Nike EYBL Saturday at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. (Photo: Jim Halley, USA Today Sports).

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Mohamed Bamba couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, even during the PSA Cardinals’ 69-66 defeat of Cal Supreme during the first day of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League session at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

Bamba, a Harlem native who plays at Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.), was getting a rare chance to play in his home area. The bonus was that Bamba, the No. 2 junior in 247Sports’ composite rankings, was playing against DeAndre Ayton of Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix), the No. 1 junior in those same rankings, in a nationally televised game.

RELATED: No. 1 sophomore Ayton enjoys moment back in the limelight

Bamba had 13 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks to Ayton’s seven points, five rebounds and three assists and Brandon McCoy’s 17 points and six rebounds.

“I was excited all week long when I heard about this game,” Bamba said. “I was in the car when I found out about it, listening to the Hoop Summit and soon as I saw that, I thought it must be some kind of error. I couldn’t go to sleep last night. DeAndre is very talented, but he kind of made the game easier for me by not attacking, at all.”

It was a rare chance for the PSA Cardinals to play in front of a large crowd on their home turf.

“It’s one of the best matchups you can get,” PSA Cardinals coach Terrance Williams said. “I would pay to see them play.”

A veritable Who’s Who of college coaches watched the game, from John Calipari to Bill Self to Roy Williams.

“I see them, but this is business out there,” Bamba said. “I don’t even know who hasn’t offered. I don’t have anybody in my forefront. I’m going to do more research during the summer.”

Schools have been flocking to Westtown to see Bamba. Indiana was there last week. North Carolina, Wake Forest, Connecticut and Duke have also visited.

Bamba said Westtown coach Seth Berger has been working with him on basic positioning.

“Coach Seth has been pushing me, even when I don’t want to do it, working on my footwork,” Bamba said. “It’s a moneymaker.”

Follow Jim Halley on Twitter at @jimhalley

 

 

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