While it did not seem to come as a surprise to those in the media or close to the Kentucky Basketball program, Bam Adebayo has signed with an agent and will not be returning to play for the Wildcats next season, and Hamidou Diallo will test the NBA Draft waters.
If you click the link in Kentucky Sports Radio’s Tyler Thompson’s tweet, you’ll see that a handful of fans had some nasty things to say about Diallo’s decision...
The 10 Worst Facebook Comments About Hamidou Diallo Testing The Waters: https://t.co/4Z2ufyaEDb— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) April 24, 2017
Meanwhile, those in the Kentucky media defended Diallo’s decision, and some still believe the 6-5 shooting guard has a good chance to be in Kentucky blue for Coach Caliper next season. Here’s a look at what they’re saying:
Hamidou Diallo doesn't owe Kentucky or its fans anything. Any opinion to the contrary is pure selfishness.— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) April 24, 2017
Hard to argue this, especially after most of the same fans griping about Diallo probably watched the ESPN 30 for 30 special on John Calipari titled, “One and Not Done.” In this documentary, Calipari could not be more clear about wanting to get his players to the NBA Draft by any means necessary.
If Hamidou Diallo comes back, some of you are going to be deleting a lot of tweets.— TJ Beisner (@tjbeisner) April 24, 2017
Only smart for Hamidou Diallo to gather feedback from the NBA. My guess would be backend first this year. Potential lotto pick next.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 23, 2017
This is a very valid point; some argue that the NBA Draft will be weaker in 2018. If Diallo signs with an agent, then I could better understand the outrage from fans, but I would still disagree with most of them.
My favorite Hamidou Diallo highlight. pic.twitter.com/qNqiIkdoRd— Andy Sweeney (@TheOnlySweeney) April 23, 2017
Couldn’t help but include this. LOL.
I want Diallo to play here. He could be really good..but fans being furious about decision of player who never played one game, is odd to me— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) April 24, 2017
I don’t know if it should be odd, but I get the point that Jones is trying to make.
In other words, lecturing fans on what they should hold as important or a priority is fruitless and often pretty arrogant.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) April 24, 2017
But I also somewhat agree with what Justin Rowland says. Just because you have a voice in the fan base doesn’t necessarily mean you should tell them what to do or how to think.
As I said, many people saw this one coming.
This is out there, but can confirm Kentucky's Bam Adebayo will remain in NBA Draft. He's signing with Octagon's Alex Saratkis.— Brian Hamilton (@BrianHamiltonSI) April 24, 2017
And again, shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Bam is leaving.
Felt Bam Adebayo was gone ever since Calipari said after the Missouri game you should be fired if you pass on him in the draft this year.— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) April 24, 2017
I agree. Definitely wouldn’t have bet on Bam coming back.
If Bam Adebayo signs with an agent, the lone returning Kentucky player who played a role last season will be Wenyen Gabriel.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 12, 2017
Which is a little scary when you think about the history of Cal’s teams. The 2010-11 team that made the Final Four returned juniors Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins and senior Josh Harrellson. The 2011-12 National Championship team returned sophomores Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones, in addition to Miller as a senior. The 2013-14 National Runner up squad returned sophomores Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress. The 2014-15 Final Four team returned Cauley-Stein, Poythress, the Harrison twins, Marcus Lee, and Dakari Johnson. So there is some history working against a Calipari team making the Final Four with only one returning contributor.
Bam Adebayo makes it official, announces he will remain in the NBA Draft. pic.twitter.com/JjZ6B7ov1B— KSTV (@KSTV_Sports) April 25, 2017
Bam is a class act and Kentucky fans should wish him only the best moving forward.
SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker breaks down his three reasons not to panic about the Diallo decision:
#1) This is not your life, not your career, not your potential fortune to be gained, lost, enhanced of diminished. If any of the other reasons fail to persuade you, see Reason 1.
#2) This is not a surprise. Diallo was in the middle of a prep year when he decided to enroll at UK in January. He elected to sit out the second half of last season despite being eligible to play for the Wildcats. It was widely known when he arrived that he’d be eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, although the plan was to practice, improve and prepare to play for Kentucky next season, then hopefully be a lottery pick in 2018 (a weaker draft class).
#3) Some of you have said Diallo “used” Kentucky and that Calipari was foolish not to play him in the second half of last season. The first part of that is debatable, but you’re just wrong on the second.
What did Kentucky get from the relationship if Diallo cycles into The Association without playing a minute?
Answer A.) Only Calipari knows. De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk were so productive there was no reason to cut their minutes. Isaiah Briscoe was often one of Kentucky’s best defenders. He also needed to play.
But if Diallo was as talented as the draft experts believe, I wonder why he didn’t get any of the 25 minutes Mychal Mulder earned while contributing one field goal while taking eight shots in UK’s four NCAA Tournament games.
Answer B.) Marketing. Remember Calipari sells his program to recruits as Players First, not Program First.
Sorry, Dan Issel, but the NBA Draft night is a bigger deal to him than Championship Monday.
He wants that message to resonate with the best players in the nation. Welcoming a kid to use the UK program as a training facility for the NBA Draft certainly does that, even if this fly-by development scenario is tilted 99 percent toward basketball and 1 percent toward college.
CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander pointed out that with the loss of Bam, UK is losing 95 percent of its offense with all of its NBA talent and outgoing seniors...
1. Kentucky has never had a bigger reload
Obviously John Calipari recruits only to to replace, and every year of his eight years at UK has involved heavy freshman involvement. But eight of Kentucky's top nine players (the exception being Wenyen Gabriel, who will be a sophomore) won't be back in 2018-19. With Adebayo's decision now set, and Kentucky perhaps losing five-star Hamidou Diallo to the NBA Draft, the Wildcats will be as fascinating as ever because they'll essentially rely on freshmen to win the SEC, to get to 30 victories, to reach the second weekend (and beyond?) of the NCAA Tournament. Calipari's had young teams before, but he's never had bigger turnover from one season to the next like last season vs. next.
2. Adebayo's stock is all over the place
As a 16-year-old recruit, just three years ago, there were rumblings Adebayo was on the path to being a real contender for No. 1 overall draft status down the road. That's no longer the case. He's at best going to be taken 20th. At worst? Around 40th. Few players will have more ambiguity attached to their draft stock this year than Bam.
3. Need a refresher? Here's who Kentucky is losing
The Wildcats need to replace 81 points per game worth of offense. The team averaged 85 last season.
Freshman De'Aaron Fox (16.7 ppg, 4.6 apg, 4.0 rpg)
Freshman Malik Monk (19.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.3 apg)
Freshman Bam Adebayo (13.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe (12.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.2 apg)
Sophomore Isaac Humphries (2.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
Senior Derek Willis (7.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
Senior Mychal Mulder (4.7 ppg)
Senior Dominique Hawkins (4.7 ppg)
With all that said, this is still not a bad starting five...
Kentucky basketball's worst case scenario starting line up for next season.— Curtis Burch (@curtisburch) April 24, 2017