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Hamidou Diallo skips NBA Draft to remain with Kentucky Wildcats

Diallo has finally made his NBA decision.

Jeremy Chisenhall/A Sea of Blue

Hamidou Diallo will stick with the Kentucky Wildcats.

After a long wait that came down to the deadline, Diallo decided he’s coming back to Kentucky for his redshirt freshman season, according to Jon Rothstein and Jeff Borzello.

The shooting guard that spent the spring semester practicing with Kentucky put his name in the 2017 NBA Draft pool, presumably due to the idea that he will be a first-round pick.

Diallo began to climb draft projections after a strong combine performance where he registered a 44.5 inch vertical leap and performed well in other agility drills, while also measuring in well at 6’5 with a 6’11 wingspan.

Most mock drafts projected Diallo to be a first round pick, somewhere in the 20s, but some have him going earlier, while others project him in the second round. Those wide-ranging opinions were indicative of what NBA teams thought of Diallo.

Some thought he’s too raw and unproven to take in Round 1, while some thought his upside is too high to pass on. Teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks have shown interest in Diallo, but he probably wanted a t a team to guarantee him a first round selection if he stayed in the draft.

When he came to Kentucky, many thought that Diallo would simply test the waters, get feedback, and then return to be a lottery pick in 2018, but teams became enthralled with the idea of getting a player that could be a top 10 pick next season outside the lottery this season. That made this a true toss-up and even appeared as though Diallo was leaning towards staying in the draft.

But in the end, Diallo made the call to stay at UK for at least one more season. Even with just one semester under his belt, he’ll now be one of the most experienced players on a UK roster that again will be freshmen-heavy.

UK also now has a loaded roster, which could have an entire starting unit of five-star guys with four more five-star guys coming off the bench. That’s the kind of insane depth UK is going to have next season now that Diallo is in the fold.