Hamidou Diallo may be testing the NBA Draft waters, but he’s also thinking about what UK could look like next season.
If Diallo returns, the Cats figure to be a preseason top-three team and a real threat to win it all. There’s just too much talent on the current roster for UK not to be at least a Final Four contender, with or without Diallo.
But if that includes Mohamed Bamba, there’s no question UK would be the No. 1 team and the hands-down favorite to win it all next year. Given what UK has already assembled, adding an elite big man to a roster loaded with talented guards and forward could be what pushes this team over the top.
Even Diallo can see that, and he’s excited about the thought of what this team would look like if it includes Bamba.
Hamidou Diallo: "If Mohamed Bamba comes to Kentucky, it's going to be really scary."— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_SEC) May 11, 2017
Bamba, who is ranked No. 2 overall in the 2017 class by 247 Sports and Scout, would easily this team’s best shot blocker, rebounder and possibly low-post scorer. All of that is what UK needs more of with only Nick Richards and Sacha Killeya-Jones figuring to be the top guys down lows, but both are major unknowns heading into next season.
There’s still no hard decision date for Bamba, who is believed to be down to Texas and UK with Duke and Michigan also in consideration. He’s kept his recruitment close enough to the vest that none of the four schools would be a major shock, especially after Kevin Knox ‘shocked’ everyone by picking UK.
Speaking of, Diallo told Adam Zagoria that he wasn’t surprised to see Knox pick UK.
“I wasn’t surprised,” he said. “I mean he really liked his visit and I had a strong feeling deep inside that he was going to pick Kentucky. It’s just a different program and it’s really hard for us to lose.”
For now, I think it’s more likely that Bamba is at UK next season than Diallo, who probably should stay in the NBA Draft.