It doesn’t seem like Hamidou Diallo is struggling with his decision to stay or go pro like his teammates Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are.
Despite struggling to stay on the court for the majority of this season due to his inconsistency, it appears as if Hami is prepared to make the leap from college to the NBA.
Kyle Tucker from SEC Country has been as close to these kids and their families/coaches in regards to their decisions as anyone covering the Cats and in his latest, Hami’s former high school coach, Tom Espinosa, makes it sound like he’s already gone:
“It’s always a possibility (Hami returns), but chances are he probably goes,” said Espinosa. “It’s a tough choice. Coach [John] Calipari will really help him with this process and make sure he makes the right move here, [but] that’s everyone’s dream to play in the NBA, and Hami can taste it. He did last year.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do, but it’s definitely his dream and he’ll do anything to get there.”
Hami wowed the scouts last season posting some of the best combine numbers in the history of the event. He was so good at running, jumping, and being measured that he almost stayed in the draft even though nobody had ever seen him play.
Ultimately he decided to stay in college in order to raise his draft stock into the lottery. Unfortunately for Hami the opposite happened: By the end of the season his draft stock plummeted and he was out of the first round altogether.
But the lure of the NBA appears to be too strong this time. And with the influx of guards at Kentucky next season- Quade Green, Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, Jemarl Baker, and maybe Ashton Hagans, I think it may be tough for Hami to see minutes unless he improves dramatically.
Will is elite athleticism be enough for a team to take a chance in the first round? It’s quite possible. Hami has raw ability and maybe with basketball being the focus of his life 24/7 he can develop into an NBA player. He will for sure put in the work; his work ethic and dedication were never a question.
Keep checking back at ASOB for the latest on the players’ decisions.