James Banks, a 2016 4* center slated to suit up for La Lumiere School (La Porte, IN), committed to the Texas Longhorns this morning. Banks chose Texas over perceived favorite Vanderbilt. Banks also held offers from schools like Notre Dame, Georgia, and Auburn.
Banks officially visited Texas in late August, followed by an official visit to Vandy in September. 247's Jerry Meyer reported that Vanderbilt was pushing Banks to make a decision, as the Commodores wanted to take one of Banks or Braxton Key, another recruit that has officially visited Texas. It appears Banks chose wisely.
The 6' 10" center is originally from Georgia and started playing hoops only a few years ago. He performed well this summer for his AAU team, the Atlanta Celtics, and decided to transfer to a more notable high school in Indiana to play his senior season. (Shoe conspiracy theorists, take note: the Celtics are an Adidas program.) Shaka Smart and assistant coach Mike Morrell (point man on Banks' recruitment) identified Banks during their time at VCU and continued pursuing him after the coaching duo moved to Texas.
Banks is a high motor post player with a long wingspan, a description that should immediately recall VCU bigs of yore under Smart's tutelage. He's a good fit for Smart's havoc system, as Banks should be an energetic rim runner than can make opponents uncomfortable in the paint. His highlight clips showcase him mostly as a catch and finish paint guy. He uses and moves almost exclusively to his right. Banks has a decent stroke on a midrange jumper that he can hopefully develop over time but likely won't be part of his repertoire as an underclassmen.
The combination of limited basketball experience and a lack of a stretch 4 game makes him an ideal "stash now, blossom later" 4-year program guy. There's a lot of upside here, and with a trio of bigs graduating from the program this summer, Texas needs big bodies in the 2016 class that want to seize immediate playing time. Welcome aboard, James. Hook 'em.