Hamidou Diallo will enter the NBA Draft. Diallo announced the news on social media minutes ago, thanking Kentucky fans for their support.
His statement did not specify whether or not he would sign with an agent, but Kentucky Basketball’s Twitter account confirmed those are his intentions. He is the fourth Kentucky Wildcat to declare for the draft, joining Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and PJ Washington, the latter of which is just testing the waters for now.
THANK YOU BIG BLUE NATION! pic.twitter.com/KyL4jokUsa
— Hamidou Diallo (@hamidoudiallo) April 16, 2018
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) April 16, 2018
“I would like to start off by thanking my family for always supporting and believing in me,” Diallo said. “Thank you to Coach Cal, the assistants and the staff for everything. You guys have pushed me to my limits and I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for me. You’ve been honest with me from the start and always had my back. I can’t thank you enough. To my teammates, you guys are my brothers. You picked me up this season and helped me build my confidence when I needed it.
“A year ago I tested the waters to get some feedback and then make the best possible decision for my career. I chose to come back and I’m so happy I did. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Nothing made me prouder than to put that Kentucky name across my chest.
“Coming back to school I knew wasn’t going to be easy. Coach Cal told me it would be the hardest thing I would ever have to do and it was. But I grew up and became a man this year on and off the court. I know I’ve only scratched the surface with my game, but I’m now prepared to do it because of the work I’ve put in at Kentucky and the support of everyone at this university. With that said, I’m entering my name into the 2018 NBA Draft and am ready to take the next step.
“Thank you to the Big Blue Nation. You took in a kid from New York and made him one of your own. I love you guys and can’t thank you enough for believing in me and supporting me through everything.”
Hami averaged 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while starting all 37 games for Kentucky this past season. He scored in double figures in 16 games and eclipsed the 20-point mark three times, including his breakout 22-point, eight-rebound performance vs. Buffalo in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
John Calipari praised Hami’s improvement and said that although he wished he had another year to coach him, he understands and supports his decision.
“I remember going through this process with Hami last year,” Calipari said. “In both cases, our conversations were about what was best for Hami. Last year he wanted to come back to put on that Kentucky jersey in a game for the first time, compete for a championship and improve his game. He did all three this season.
“Hami got better in all areas of his game. True growth happens when you get knocked down to the point of questioning yourself. We already knew how talented of a player Hami was physically and athletically, but we all learned about Hami’s toughness, his character and his desire to win. I am so proud of his growth from beginning to end. He’s prepared to succeed and will succeed. He’s the best athlete in the draft who’s continued to improve his shooting. He’s only touched his true talent. I wish I had the opportunity to coach him another year but I understand and support his decision.”
Good luck, Hami.