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Hamidou Diallo talks with Evan Daniels about joining Kentucky Basketball

Diallo discusses why he picked UK, plans for this season, and the upcoming NBA draft.

USA Basketball

It won’t be long until Hamidou Diallo is practicing with his new teammates at Kentucky.

After the five-star guard committed to the Wildcats Saturday, Diallo hopped on The Sideline Podcast with Evan Daniels to talk about why he’s coming to Lexington this semester.

“I picked the Wildcats because, when I went up there, I just fell in love with them,” Diallo said. “I just felt like it was the best decision for me. I just felt the level of basketball was just very different.

“There was just structure, and I just felt like that they had the best plan for me to make it to the next level.”

When asked about playing this semester, Diallo said “we’re just playing it by ear.,” suggesting that it’s not set in stone that he redshirts.

“I don’t want to put on a Kentucky jersey and just play. Just trying to protect me as much as possible. First I’m going to have to get used to things, me just getting used to the college game. That’s pretty much the biggest thing of why I would sit out this year.

“But right now, we’re just playing it by ear and just trying to see what happens in these next four months.”

As for the 2017 NBA Draft, Diallo didn’t rule that out as a potential option when the semester ends, though it’s more because he doesn’t want to rule anything out right now.

“I haven’t completely ruled anything out,” Diallo said. “Right now, I’m just worried about getting up on Kentucky’s campus and just getting ready to put that work in, and that’s pretty much it. I haven’t ruled anything out though indefinitely. I‘m just happy to be a Wildcat right now. That’s pretty much it. I haven’t really thought about June yet.”

While Diallo didn’t rule out the draft, he did talk about what kind of role he hopes to have next season when he would be a featured player and leader.

“I would just say first off as a leader,” Diallo said. “ And second, the type of player I am. Just getting after it on defense and offense. And third, just being able to score.”

Diallo also had some strong praise for the 2017 class UK has assembled thus far, and he’s excited about potentially getting to play with those guys.

“I feel like we have a great group of guys,” Diallo said. “I feel like we’re all different, so that’s the biggest thing. We’re all different types of players, and I just feel like we can honestly go out there and be the best team in the country, because we just want to win. That’s what we talk about when we see each other. We just want to win.”

And finally, Diallo said the biggest remaining recruit that UK is going after is Mohamed Bamba. The five-star forward is strongly considering UK, and Diallo would love to see him in blue next season.

“The biggest recruit we’re trying to get next is Mo Bamba,” Diallo said. “I think that’s the missing piece right there. I think once we get him, then the sky is the limit honestly.”

Be sure to listen to the full interview, which starts at the 15:15 mark.

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