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OFFICIAL: Ole Miss men’s basketball signs Buffalo transfer Josh Mballa

Ben Garrett05/16/22
Article written by:On3 imageBen Garrett

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Josh Mballa

OLE MISS ATHLETICS MEDIA RELATIONS | Ole Miss men’s basketball has landed transfer forward Josh Mballa of Buffalo, head coach Kermit Davis announced Monday.

Mballa – a 6-foot-7 forward originally from Bordeaux, France – spent his freshman season at Texas Tech during their national runner-up season in 2018-19 before transferring to Buffalo for the past three seasons, where he was an all-around force for the Bulls as a two-time All-MAC and two-time MAC All-Defensive selection, as well as the 2020-21 MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Over his 99-game career thus far, Mballa has tallied 29 double-doubles, has recorded 12 games with at least 15 rebounds, and nearly averages a double-double across his career at 10.7 points (1,058 total) and 8.0 rebounds (790 total) per game. Last season, Mballa was one of the top offensive rebounders in the nation, leading the MAC and ranking sixth in the NCAA at 3.7 offensive boards per contest.

“Josh Mballa has an unbelievable motor and a fantastic work ethic, and he brings great talent, character and experience to Ole Miss,” Davis said. “He’s already a 1,000-point scorer with nearly 800 rebounds and 29 career double-doubles. I’m impressed with Josh’s skill level and feel he will make a great jump playmaking this season in the SEC. We are very excited to have Josh join our Ole Miss family.”

Mballa’s top season in Buffalo came in 2020-21, where he helped lead the Bulls to their first NIT berth in 16 years after averaging a double-double across the campaign at 13.0 points and 8.6 rebounds. That season, Mballa was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year, made the MAC All-Tournament team, and was named a finalist for the Lefty Driesell Award given annually to the top defensive player in college basketball. Mballa got off to a hot start that season, dropping a career-high 27 points and hauling in seven boards against Syracuse on Dec. 19.

Mballa prepped at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut, where he led the team to a 38-4 record and the program’s first national championship in 2018. Mballa was born in Detroit, but grew up in Bordeaux, France, where he played for Kameet Academy while growing up before coming back to the United States for high school. Mballa has international experience as a member of the French national team, playing for France at both the FIBA U17 World Championships in 2016 and the FIBA U18 European Championships in 2017.

Mballa is the eighth new addition for Ole Miss for the 2022-23 season, joining a high school signing class that currently ranks No. 12 in the nation by ESPN with Top-100 signees No. 81 Malique Ewin (Forward, 6-10, 220, Lawrenceville, Georgia/Berkmar HS), No. 97 TJ Caldwell (Guard, 6-4, 190, Dallas, Texas/Faith Family Academy (Oak Cliff)), No. 98 Amaree Abram (Guard, 6-4, 190, Port Arthur, Texas/Southern California Academy); fellow four-star high school signee Robert Cowherd (Guard, 6-5, 195, Grayson, Georgia/Southern California Academy); Jackson State graduate transfer Jayveous McKinnis (Forward, 6-7, 225, Brandon, Mississippi); Loyola New Orleans transfer Myles Burns (Forward, 6-6, 210, Houston, Texas); and Louisiana transfer Theo Akwuba (Forward, 6-11, 225, Montgomery, Alabama). Caldwell, Ewin and Cowherd were early signees last November, while Abram was announced back on April 13.