Hamidou Diallo is expected to declare for the NBA draft and hire an agent, according to a report from FanRag Sports.
This decision doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but it does provide the next batch of potential pros a blueprint for what not to do.
Diallo graduated high school after the 2015-16 season and, after spending the first semester as a postgrad during the 2016-17 season, enrolled at Kentucky as a redshirt in the second semester. He was then eligible to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft and, despite being thought of as a late-first round pick, opted to instead enroll at Kentucky and play out the season.
That did not go anywhere near as well as planned. Diallo averaged 10 points and 3.6 boards while shooting just 33 percent from beyond the arc, although those numbers might be flattering in comparison to what his performance was. The 6-foot-5 off-guard spent much of the second half of the season as a candidate to get benched, and eventually became a rotation piece for the Wildcats as it became clear that their best perimeter attack included Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and Quade Green.
If anything, Diallo’s experience proves that leaving for the NBA when your stock is the highest is, generally speaking, the best move for these players to make.
Diallo is an exception athlete with all of the measureables that scouts love. He’s 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, dynamic athleticism and the build that should allow him to defend three positions at the next level. His issues is two-fold: He still is a question mark on the offensive end of the floor, as his jumper is not yet consistent and he struggles to create points on his own, and while he is a playmaker defensively, he still is learning the positional elements of the game on that side of the ball.
There is potential here, but it is going to take some time for Diallo to reach that potential.
As of now, he’s projected as a second round pick. He joins Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox as players that have signed with agents off this Kentucky team. P.J. Washington announced that he will be testing the waters while Nick Richards already made clear that he is returning to school; Sacha Killeya-Jones is transferring. With the incoming freshmen included, this is what Kentucky’s depth chart looks like for next season:
PGs: Quade Green, Immanuel Quickley
Wings: Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, Jemarl Baker
Bigs: P.J. Washington*, Wenyen Gabriel, E.J. Montgomery, Jarred Vanderbilt, Nick Richards