The Texas Tech basetkaball team has signed 2018 power forward Joshua Mballa adding needed post depth to the roster.
The 2018 Texas Tech basketball roster is nearing completion with the addition of Joshua Mballa, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward who signed with the Red Raiders Monday. Raised in France, Mballa played for the Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut last year where he was one of the top recruits in the North East.
Part of the reason Mballa was still unsigned this far into the recruiting cycle is because of his time in France where he played with the French national team. Because he was playing in Europe rather than on the American club team circuit, he was somewhat overlooked by recruiting services. Still, the website, NewEnglandRecruitingReport.com ranked him the No. 8 prospect in the state for 2018.
Once Mballa is on campus, his top priority will be to add as much muscle to his frame as he can before the season begins in November. That is because he will likely be asked to play important minutes as a reserve forward this season as Texas Tech looks to replace departed low post contributors in seniors Zach Smith and Tommy Hamilton.
On the court, Mballa is a high-energy player who is a fierce defender and rebounder. His offensive game will require some refinement and it will be interesting to see if he is able to pick up the nuances of Chris Beard’s motion offense.
Mballa fits the mold of the type of player Chris Beard has attempted to bring to Texas Tech in that he is a multi-position player. He is versatile enough to play the small and power forward spots or even give Beard some minutes at center thanks to his 7-foot-1 wing-span.
The New England Recruiting Report provides the following scouting repot.
"“Long and athletic with a chiseled physique and high motor, Mballa started in the frontcourt for a PSA team that won their first National Prep Championship last month. He’s not a conventional big man but more of a hybrid style with some flashes of an old school power forward.”"
Adding Mballa is critical because he and sophomore center Malik Ondigo are expected to be the pillars of the Red Raider low post game following this season when Norense Odiase and Tariq Owens both graduate. Speaking of Ondigo, he is also an alum of the Putnam Science Academy where he played prior to coming to Texas Tech.
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Mballa is the fourth 2018 signee for Texas Tech which is replacing six members from last season’s Elite 8 team. There is believed to be one more spot available in the current class and Texas Tech is hoping to fill it with 4-star point guard Kevin McCullar from San Antonio who will enroll in college after the fall 2018 semester but will not play until the 2019-2020 season.
Still, McCullar will be counted as a 2018 signee and will count towards the current scholarship limit for whichever team he inks with. There has been some rumors on social media that McCullar is nearing his decision and could make his choice known this week. He has visited Texas Tech, Kansas State, Louisville and Houston this spring.
But regardless of what McCullar ultimately decides to do, Texas Tech basketball fans are simply appreciative of the fact that a program that was almost dormant just five years ago is now in the mix for such quality prospects as Mballa or McCulalr. As the Mballa signing suggests, Beard can close with the best in the business which should give Red Raiders everywhere reason to be optimistic about the state of Texas Tech basketball.