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Hamidou Diallo will be Kentucky Wildcats’ X-factor in March

Things continue trending up for the young guard

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Hamidou Diallo is a critical part of this Kentucky Wildcats team.

Despite some mid-season struggles from the young guard, Diallo has been picking it up lately and has shown just how valuable he is to this young Wildcats team as they gear up to make a run in March.

Diallo is Kentucky’s third-leading scorer on the season, averaging just more than 10 points per game while shooting 34 percent from the perimeter.

For Kentucky to be a true threat in March, Diallo needs to be at his best. We’ve seen plenty of glimpses of how much talent he has. Against Virginia Tech, he knocked down four three-pointers en route to a 20-point performance while grabbing three steals. He had 18 big points in the win against Texas A&M.

Diallo has faced probably more than a fair share of criticism this year. Many expected that, with his early enrollment, he would come in miles ahead of the other freshmen but lacking game experience, Diallo has experienced a bit of a learning curve as he has adjusted to the college game.

He went through a slump for a period of time that coincided with the team’s four-game losing streak, but over the last two games, Diallo has shown some increased confidence and has had back-to-back solid performances. Against Missouri and Ole Miss, Diallo has shot a combined 5-6 from three-point range.

For Kentucky to have a strong finish to the season, Diallo needs to continue playing with this renewed confidence. On the season, Kentucky is 12-3 when Diallo scores in double figures.

Defensively, he can be a major difference maker, exemplified by his defensive performance guarding West Virginia’s Jevon Carter in the second half of Kentucky’s win over WVU.

As fans, make sure to keep encouraging Diallo. He’s been working like crazy to break out of his slump and the encouragement clearly makes a difference.

We have to take a step back and remember that these are still kids and something as simple as being encouraging can make a world of difference for them.

The BBN is behind you Hami. Let’s get ready for March.