Kentucky’s newest basketball commit, Hamidou Diallo, is planning to redshirt at Kentucky this year, and not actually play until next season. He’ll get to work out and practice with the team for the remainder of this year, which some of his coaches think is a great idea.
“It makes so much sense,” Diallo’s now former coach with the NY Rens, Andy Borman, said after Diallo’s commitment, according to ZagsBlog.
“Hamidou is going to get to lift with the college strength coach,” Borman said. “He’s going to get to practice with college kids as opposed to high school. When the team goes on a road trip, he can stay home with a grad assistant and work out two hours a day.”
Borman also said that he could see it becoming more common.
“I could see it becoming more common,” he said. “If I had a kid that graduated early, I can send him to college for a semester and could spend nine months getting ready. When everyone comes in June for summer school as freshmen, he’s already a sophomore.”
Tom Espinosa, Diallo’s former coach at the Putnam Science Academy, said that Diallo believes this is the right decision for his future, and his NBA Draft stock.
“[Diallo] told me he is redshirting and the reason why is he doesn’t want to start right away at Kentucky and not be ready for college basketball — which he is not and he knows,” Espinosa told the Hartford Courant. “Learning all the plays, etc., he doesn’t feel like he’s ready. And, honestly, I think he feels it would hurt his NBA stock, not being prepared, not looking good, not playing well.”
Diallo is eligible for the 2017 draft, but waiting for the 2018 draft would get him valuable practice time against future NBA players in De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, plus playing experience next year. It would greatly improve his draft stock.
“I think the thing that’s going to help him is the weight room,” Borman said. “He works. But imagine him in a weight room with supplements and protein shakes and a nutrition plan. He should be eating like Michael Phelps.”
Kentucky has an outstanding strength and conditioning program, which we saw when this year’s team strengthened up in the preseason. Diallo’s increase in strength alone would help his draft stock.
“The only areas he needs to improve in his game are areas that he can improve in,” Borman said. “Everything else that you can’t teach or coach, he has, like his motor, competitiveness and intensity. He just needs to be a better shooter and tighten up his handles.”
Diallo has great praise for Kentucky’s players, and the pro factory empire that John Calipari has built at Kentucky.
“Those are great players,” Diallo said about the Kentucky players. “Just going up there and practicing with them should make me a lot better. I just felt like he had a great plan for me and my family, putting me in the right spots. They have the best platform for me to get to the next level and I think that was the biggest thing.”