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Hamidou Diallo looking more likely to remain in 2017 NBA Draft; met with Bulls and Nets

Don’t expect Diallo to remain in college. Among the many teams interested are Chicago and Brooklyn.

UK Athletics

With Hamidou Diallo putting on a show at the NBA Draft Combine, it’s getting more and more likely that he remains in the draft.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Diallo’s looking more NBA-bound after posting some crazy testing numbers ahe combine. That included the highest vertical jump, second-fastest shuttle, third-fastest sprint, and seventh-fastest lane agility time. He also measured in at 6-5 in shoes with a freakish 6-11.25 wingspan.

WDRB’s Rick Bozich spoke with an NBA coach who thought Diallo was staying in the draft:

“The buzz is that he’s a little better than expected,” said one former NBA coach who attended the workouts Thursday. “I think he’s going to stay in the draft.”

Diallo was among ESPN’s big winners from the combine thus far, and he’s likely cemented himself into being a first-round pick.

A few weeks ago, no one in the league thought Diallo was that serious about staying in the draft. But a number of GMs said that if he were to stay in, he'd be a likely first-round pick. He's raw, but the elite athleticism and length make him an intriguing prospect in the 20s.

He could be a top-10 pick in 2018 after a true freshman season at Kentucky -- Diallo is eligible for the draft after spending a year at prep school -- but if he does stay in, he has a real shot at landing in the first round.

At one point during Thursday’s combine coverage on ESPN2, John Calipari was discussing how Enes Kanter came to UK, practiced with the team for a year and went No. 4 in the 2011 NBA Draft after being ineligible to play in college.

Cal then joked that if Diallo, who only practiced with UK for four months and didn’t play in a single game, was taken with a lottery pick (first 14 selections), he’d retire.

“I’m retiring. I’m done,” Calipari said laughing. “There’s nothing more I can do.”

In terms of the teams who could spend a first-round pick on Diallo, watch out for the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls.

Diallo also told Adam Zagoria that he met with about 10 teams at the combine and plans to work out for several others next week. He added that possibly spending his entire rookie season in the D-League won’t deter him from remaining in the draft.

“I would just wait for my chance to prove that I belong,” Diallo said. “I think everybody has a different route to the NBA. Whatever best suits them.”

We probably should expect the Bulls and Nets to be among the teams he has private workouts with. Brooklyn holds the No. 22 and 27 picks, while Chicago has the No. 16 pick. If Diallo thinks he can go as high as 16, forget about it. He’s gone with no questions asked, but I don’t think he’ll get that assurance from the Bulls.

I think it’s more likely Brooklyn assures Diallo of spending one of their two first-round picks on him. Is 22 or 27 high enough?

Calipari seems to think 22 might be enough to recommend Diallo go pro.

I don’t think there’s any question now that Diallo will be a first-round pick. The question is what part of Round 1 would Diallo likely go, and how much assurance does he want?

"It's just a situation that occurred, a situation that I might have to take advantage of," Diallo said Thursday at the NBA combine via SEC Country. "Growing up as a kid, it's something I always dreamed about, so if a door is open, I feel like it's the right thing to do for me and the right thing to do for my family.

The draft is a very tricky ordeal, but thankfully, Diallo has been meeting with teams personally in addition to Calipari being very well connected with every team. Wherever Diallo would go in this draft, both he and Calipari would have a great idea of where it is.

Expect it to be where Diallo wants it to be in order for him to remain in the draft.