Former Buffalo ahead Josh Mballa visited UF

Former Buffalo forward Josh Mballa wrapped up a visit to Florida on Friday around 12 pm EST, a source familiar with the development told Swamp247.

A 6-foot-7, 220-pound big man, Mballa was a force to be reckoned with in three seasons with the Bulls, having nearly averaged a double-double in each of those campaigns.

Last year, Mballa recorded 13.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per contest and was one of the nation’s top offensive rebounders, posting a 13.6 offensive rebound percentage, the 39th-best mark among all qualified Division I players in the country regardless of position, according to KenPom. He was recognized as a member of the second-team All-MAC for his efforts.

A year earlier, Mballa was dominant in 22 games as he averaged 15.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game en route to second-team All-MAC honors. He also recorded 0.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game that season and earned MAC Defensive Player of the Year as a result.

In 2019-2020, his first year in Buffalo after transferring from Texas Tech, Mballa played a career-high 32 games and averaged 10.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

The former Buffalo forward would be a significant addition to Florida head coach Todd Golden’s squad. During his introductory press conference in March, Golden said he had two main areas of concern after studying his new team: 3-point shooting and defensive rebounding. Mballa has garnered a reputation as a ferocious player on the glass.

“I think the two areas that we’re going to really strive to be better at next year is shooting the ball,” Golden said when asked for his early assessment of his team. “The team I think was around 30.5% from the year on (three-pointers) and the way that I like to play that’s simply not going to be good enough. We’re going to have to go out and shoot the ball better to achieve the goals we want to achieve.

“Also, defensively, rebounding,” Golden continued. “That was an area that was surprising to me when evaluating the team and the roster that they didn’t have a lot of success in because I think the pieces are there, and I think the talent is there in terms of being able to get on the glass. I think if we can lift those two areas up a couple of pegs and stay consistent and get better in other areas, we should be back in the tournament next year.”

Mballa was a three-star prospect ranked No. 79 among power forwards in the 2018 class on the 247Sports independent player rankings. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Mballa grew up in Bordeaux, France where he played for Kameet Academy before returning to the United States to play high school basketball. While he was born in the United States and prepped in the country, Mballa has played for France on the national level, representing the country at the FIBA U17 World Championships in 2016 and the FIBA ​​U18 European Championships in 2017.

While playing for Putnam (Conn.) Science Academy, Mballa helped the team to a 38-4 record and its first-ever national championship in 2018.

Should Mballa choose Florida, he would join an already strong transfer class assembled over the last several weeks by Golden and his staff. The program has been extremely active — and successful — in the NCAA transfer portal, securing four commitments and ranking among the top-10 teams in Division I in transfer recruiting, according to the 247Sports Composite basketball team rankings. The Gators have secured former Belmont guard Will Richardformer VMI guard Trey Bonham, former St. Bonaventure guard Kyle Lofton and former LSU forward Alex Fudge.

Florida also retained guards Kowacie Reeves and Myreon Jones and forward Colin Castleton.

“You recruit to what you want to coach,” Golden said during his introductory press conference. “We’re going to look for really smart, motivated student-athletes. Obviously, high, high-level basketball players, guys that have great attitudes, great work ethics. Most importantly, that really want to be at the University of Florida. “

Mballa did not respond to a request for comment immediately about his visit.

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