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UK Basketball: Hamidou Diallo not expected to attend NBA Draft Combine

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This is a puzzling decision.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Buffalo vs Kentucky Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Hamidou Diallo blew scouts away with his athleticism in the 2017 NBA Draft Combine. He recorded the second highest vertical leap in Combine history with a 44.5 inch jump. Without ever playing a minute of college basketball, he made a big impression and was slated as a potential first-round pick.

Diallo ultimately chose to play at Kentucky for a year in hopes of improving his draft stock.

Fast-forward a year and it is obvious that things did not go as planned. With his recent projection of being the 47th player taken, it is now believed that Diallo will forego the 2018 NBA Draft Combine.

Many believe that a strong performance at the Combine this year could push Diallo into the first round, but his high school coach, Tom Espinosa, has been hearing from family that he will only host private workouts and meet with teams leading up to the draft.

Espinosa believes Diallo should showcase himself as much as possible before draft day.

“I think it would help him if he played,” Espinosa told the Herald-Leader. “I don’t think it’d benefit him if he didn’t.”

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas agrees that participating in Combine activities seems like the obvious choice.

“I’m surprised by it,” Bilas said. “To me, I don’t think it’s going to send the best message. I think a lot of NBA people will look at it as, when you’re a competitor, come compete.”

Aside from money itself, being selected in the first round comes with a guaranteed contract whereas very few second round picks receive those. Tyler Ulis was a notable exception in the 2016 Draft.

You could make an argument that Diallo could fall even further with a poor showing at the Combine, but at this point he has already hired an agent (who may be behind this decision) and is locked into going pro regardless of his draft position.

For a guy that is hoping to get picked based on his grit, drive, and athleticism, you would think he would be fighting and clawing his way into the first round instead of passively hoping to get his name called at all. That could put a bad taste in the mouth of executives looking for a guy willing to do anything to earn his spot.

Keep in mind that Diallo has not confirmed the reports about skipping the Combine, so he may end up participating after all. Combine activities take place from May 16-20 in Chicago, so we will find out sooner rather than later about his involvement.

Do you think it would be a mistake for Diallo to skip the NBA Draft Combine?