Kentucky has one of the top 2017 recruits currently on campus.
Hamidou Diallo is now in Lexington for his official visit with the Wildcats. Diallo’s visit is set to go from Dec. 26-28, giving him three days to check out UK’s campus and watch the team practice before they depart for Oxford to face Ole Miss on Thursday.
We already know Diallo is considering UK, UConn and Arizona, while an early enrollment for this upcoming semester is in play. The ultimate goal for Diallo, like most guys who play at any high level of basketball, is the NBA, and the 2017 draft is something he’ll enter if his stock is high enough.
Diallo recently worked out in front of NBA scouts and executives, including Celtics GM Danny Ainge, but it didn’t go too well.
“[The NBA scouts] were disappointed by the lack of urgency that he showed,” Draft Express’ Johnathan Givony told Zags Blog. “He was kind of going through the motions and coasting. His jump shot still needs a lot of work. His body needs a lot of work. If Hamidou is not going to play hard, then he’s just not that interesting a prospect. He’s 6-5, 190 pounds without a great jumper. You can find that a dime a dozen.
“What I loved about Hamidou before that with USA Basketball, on the AAU circuit, Adidas Nations, every time I’ve seen him play, he was always playing harder than everybody else. He was a monster defensively. He seems to kind of have backed off of that a little bit and that’s not a good sign for him. I think he’s a much better prospect than what he showed, but when NBA guys come to evaluate you and you turn in that kind of performances, they might not come back. So he has to be thinking strongly about college at this point.”
The five-star shooting guard out of Putnam Science Academy (CT) is ranked as a top-11 prospect by every major recruiting service, the lowest being 11th (ESPN) and highest being ninth (247). Scout, Rivals, and 247 all have him tabbed the best shooting guard in 2017. He’s one of the last uncommitted elite prospects in 2017 and one that UK is coming hard after.
But while Diallo is a great player who would be a tremendous asset to next year’s team, it’s hard to see him making much, if any impact on this year’s squad. With Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe taking up most of the guard minutes, that would leave Diallo to battle Mychal Mulder and Dominique Hawkins for limited minutes.
There’s also the fact that Diallo doesn’t offer much, if any upgrade at shooting over any of the aforementioned five guys. That is something UK desperately needs more of, but it’s not something Diallo has shown he can do well enough to earn college minutes based on it.
In other words, if Diallo is looking for a school where he can play right now, UConn and Arizona probably offer him that best. However, if Diallo wants a chance to practice against NBA guards now and then go through pre-draft workouts this summer, then UK is where he needs to come.
John Calipari is a players-first coach, and while he may not like it, he probably would allow Diallo to come in and practice with the team, then leave for the 2017 NBA Draft if he thinks his stock is high enough.
Frankly, Diallo has no business going straight from prep school or even a semester of college into the NBA draft, especially with this year being a loaded class that probably pushes him out of the first round.
But I don’t know his family situation or if he needs to make a living now. Whatever happens, hopefully Diallo lands in the best situation for him and his family.