“I was excited about Kansas when they offered,” Bidunga told ESPN. “We spoke on the phone, and they were serious about me, then I got serious with them. When we went there and met everyone it was great. Coach [Bill] Self and staff were constantly at my games. I see him as a coach who will push me and teach me on the court. Off the court, he is a caring and nice guy. Very funny and a smart ass in a good way off the court.”
Duke appeared as the favorite coming out of July, although Kansas maintained a strong position in Bidunga’s recruitment. Auburn made a push down the stretch, but the Jayhawks were able to land the big man’s commitment.
“When I watched practice, I could see how he believes in his players,” Bidunga said. “I know they will develop my talent and help me with my goal of making the NBA. My dream is not to just make it, but stay there.”
A native of the Congo, the 6-foot-9 Bidunga is ranked No. 4 overall in the ESPN 100 and is the No. 1 center in the class. He burst onto the scene last spring and summer, then backed that up with another dominant showing on the grassroots circuit in July. In six games at the Sportradar Showdown in Las Vegas with Indiana Elite, Bidunga averaged 18.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.
Bidunga, who plans to also play soccer this season at Kokomo High School (Indiana), moves exceptionally well and plays with constant energy and effort. In the open court, he runs with long strides and great open-court speed. A high-level athlete who possesses strength, bounce and agility, Bidunga is at his best when finishing plays at the rim, rebounding and blocking shots. His shot-blocking range is impressive, as his willingness to seek rebounds outside of his area. His touch is developing as is his go-to move, a left-handed jump-hook on the right block going toward the middle of the paint. He scores with post-up angles inside and he has the hands to catch and score in the high-low game. The next area of improvement will be his face-up game.
Bidunga is Self and Kansas’ first commitment of the 2024 class and the program’s highest-ranked pledge since Josh Jackson (No. 2) picked the Jayhawks in the 2016 class.
Earlier at the UA Next Elite 24 game, ESPN 100 guard Nasir Mohammed announced his commitment to Notre Dame. The son of former Kentucky star and first-round NBA draft pick Nazr Mohammed, the 6-foot-5 wing chose the Fighting Irish over finalists Marquette, Stanford, Virginia Tech and Villanova.
“The relationship I have built with coach [Micah] Shrewsberry over the years has been the difference. His vision for me to be a lead guard and the pieces he is putting together is exciting,” Mohammed told ESPN. “The history of the basketball program and the school academically fit me perfectly.”