Hamidou Diallo has a big decision on his hands and the deadline to decide is looming.
By May 24th, Diallo must decide whether to stay in the NBA Draft after an impressive combine and workouts, or to return to Lexington and play for Kentucky next season.
Diallo never actually logged one minute for the Wildcats last season after enrolling for the spring semester, instead just opting to spend time practicing with the team.
Most thought that Diallo would put his name in the draft to test the waters and just see what areas teams thought he needed to improve and then ultimately return to Kentucky to play his (likely) one season of college basketball, but things quickly changed.
Diallo’s superb athleticism (a 44.5 inch vertical at the combine) and impressive physical attributes (6’5 with a 6’11 wingspan) has made him a popular target for teams outside the lottery looking to get a steal on a guy that would most likely be a lottery pick next season.
According to Adam Zagoria, Diallo has already had workouts with the Celtics, Nets, Bulls and Bucks. Most mock drafts have Diallo going in the late teens to early-mid 20s, but they vary. Some still have him as a second-round pick based on the lack of college experience.
Many people believe Diallo is 50/50 on coming back or staying in the draft, so a decision, either way, shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans.
We gathered the staff here at A Sea of Blue to get their thoughts on Diallo and what they think he will decide to do.
I really wish I could say that we will see this kid play in Lexington. Unfortunately, I think it’ll only come true if the NBA squad that picks him ends up playing an exhibition in Rupp. Diallo was No. 4 on my list of most-wanted recruits when I wrote it last September.
In the echelon of most athletic guys at UK, there’s Malik Monk, John Wall, Derek Anderson and Ron Mercer – and Diallo. But in my opinion, this kid never plays a game for UK. And I’m fine with it. I fully believe he helped last year’s team (which at the end of the year, was right there and ready to win a national title), so I hope we, as a fanbase, applaud his efforts and cheer him on in the league.
Timothy Coleman Sr.
I have a feeling Diallo is coming back because 1) I don’t think he’ll receive an ironclad promise from any team he’ll be picked in the first round, 2) He has been very smart with all of his moves so far and I do not think he’ll all of a sudden become dumb with the most important decision up to date, 3) He can take out an insurance policy in case of injury,(i.e. Nerlens Noel) if he comes back and can be a Lottery pick in 2018 NBA Draft, and 4) I know he said he would go down to the NBA D-League if he gets drafted, I don’t think he meant being drafted in the second round, I think he was saying it thinking of first round guaranteed money. Whatever he decides, I’ll wish him the best of success and always consider him a part of Big Blue Nation.
How unique has this situation been? Big Blue Nation was roaring with excitement and proclaiming Cal's brilliance when we took this young man's commitment. Now, less than half a year later, some naysayers are complaining about Cal's "NBA Factory." I heard one fan say "Player's 1st, UK Last" was his motto. What happened?
Hamidou Diallo, per the original plan, only played in practice. By all accounts, he benefited our young guards by playing tremendous defense on them in practice. However, he did not play in any games.
Then, again per the plan, Hami entered the draft. As of now, he has not hired an agent and says returning is 100% possible. Of course, how probable is it he will return? All signs are starting to point towards his staying in the draft....except he STILL has not hired an agent.
From all the rumblings I hear, my guess is Diallo enters the draft (and goes in Round 1). Odds of return..20%.
I think Diallo stays in the draft. His measurables were outstanding at the combine, and not participating in 5-on-5 was probably a good idea. No one really knows how he'll fare against NBA competition, but NBA scouts and executives know how his athleticism grades out, and they know he's practiced with and against some of the best players in this draft. Both of those things bode well for him, and he's cracking the first round in rankings and mock drafts. If he stays in the first round, I don't think there's any way he comes back.
When Diallo came to Kentucky back in January, we all thought we were getting a player that was going to learn for a semester and then come back in order to improve his draft stock and help lead Kentucky to a Final Four.
It was no surprise that he tested the NBA waters by going to the combine. What was surprising was the buzz that built over time thanks to Diallo's freak athleticism and his insane measurements.
The NBA, right or wrong, drafts on potential and upside; and there isn't a player in the draft with more potential or upside than Hamidou Diallo. The thought is that if he is going to be a top 10 draft pick next season, why not draft him now and get him on the cheap? Which leads me to question why Diallo wouldn't want to wait a year in order to get more money but that is for another discussion.
I think Diallo sticks in the draft and I am beginning to think that was the plan all along. I'm starting to wonder if he was ever going to play at Kentucky.
Everything I’ve heard is Diallo plans to sign with an agent soon and remain in the draft. No one can blame him either teams in the 15-20 range showing real interest in him, and I think there’s no way he falls past Brooklyn’s 27th overall pick.
That’s a guaranteed contract with anywhere between $3-10 million dollars coming his way, depending on if his third and fourth-year club options are picked up. I’m not telling anyone to pass on that kind of money, especially if it helps set up him and his family for life.