In what may be a gigantic domino for coach Shaka Smart’s recruiting efforts, James Banks, a four-star center from La Lumiere School in Indiana, announced on Thursday he had verbally committed to Texas.
The 6-feet, 10-inch Banks is rated the nation’s 45th-best player in the nation, according to Scout. ESPN has him pegged as the 56th-best player in the nation. Banks chose UT over Vanderbilt.
“I would like to say thank you to every staff in the country that recruited me and believed in me,” Banks said in a statement posted on Twitter. “I appreciate you seeing something in me that could take your program to the next level. I enjoyed the process however I have decided to become a TEXAS LONGHORN!!! #Hook’Em”
This will be Banks’ first season at La Lumiere, as he transferred there from Georgia. La Lumiere coach Shane Heirman said Banks, who has a 7-foot, 6-inch wingspan, has as much basketball upside as anyone in the country.
“Tremendous length,” Heirman said. “He’s still raw at times. He’s only been playing basketball for three years. But he still shows you flashes of how good he can be. He’s got a tremendous willingness and eagerness to learn and get better.”
As for why Banks chose Texas, Heirman said it came down to the player’s relationship with Smart and assistant coach Mike Morrell.
“I think it was close, it was really close,” Heirman said. “In the end, it was coach Morrell and coach Smart’s ability to connect with guys and relate to guys. I think he feels really comfortable there. It’s a place he can call home for several years to come.”
The Longhorns need as many big recruits as possible. Going into the 2015-16 season, Cam Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Connor Lammert are all seniors.
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