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ESPN analysts say it’s unlikely Diallo returns

Diallo is climbing the draft boards, which means it’s not as likely he’ll return to Kentucky.

UK Athletics

Hamidou Diallo has put his name in the NBA Draft; that we’ve known for some time. But what we’re still unsure about is whether or not he’ll keep his name in the draft.

Initially it seemed like there’d be good odds that he returned to Kentucky. He hasn’t signed an agent, and he was a long-shot to get into the first round. Now, things are a little less clear, because Diallo is making his way into the 20s of the first round. And ESPN experts Fran Fraschilla and Jeff Goodman say it’s now more likely that he stays in the draft instead of returning.

“I love the kid,” Fraschilla said. “I’d like to see him play at Kentucky for a year, but there are at least three teams that I know of that have multiple picks in the 20s. He’ll be one of the most athletic guys in the draft.”

Diallo also has “sky-high” potential, according to Fraschilla, and could go in the final third of the first round.

While Diallo is going to the NBA Combine, he will not participate in the 5-on-5 drills.

“I had one NBA guy tell me that by (Diallo) not playing, that (means) he feels pretty good about the fact that he’s going to go in the first round, somewhere,” Goodman said.

Diallo doesn’t have college experience, but he’s got the same potential as the guys going top-10 this year. It probably helps that he played alongside and against two top-10 picks in practice this year.

“We had him at the Steph Curry camp two years ago,” Fraschilla said. “And there were guys like (projected No. 1 pick) Markelle Fultz. Dennis Smith comes to mind, he was there. Diallo was every bit at the level of those guys. In other words, he may not go in the top 10, but he did not take a backseat, especially athletically, to any of the guys that are being considered top-15 picks.”

Diallo has until May 24 to withdraw his name from the draft, which is seeming less and less likely to happen.