This afternoon, Hamidou Diallo officially announced the beginning of his professional basketball career by entering his name in the NBA Draft and signing an agent.
It was a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs for him this season, but there were a ton of bright moments in Hami’s career as a Wildcat to look back on.
Check out the top-ten moments from Diallo’s time in blue and white:
10. The Commitment
Back in January of 2017, Hamidou Diallo committed to Kentucky and enrolled in the school immediately.
Just looking from his high school highlight tapes alone, it looked like the Cats were going to be getting a sure-fire superstar that would be able to play right away.
For a team that needed depth on the wing for hopes of a Final Four run, it looked like a match made in heaven. He never ended up playing his “true” freshman season, but the excitement for Diallo was through the roof.
9. Breaking NBA Combine Records
He didn’t play his first semester on campus, but decided to test the NBA waters to see what scouts had to say.
After receiving an invite to the NBA Combine, Diallo absolutely crushed the competition, posting the second-best vertical ever recorded at the combine at 44.5-inches.
8. The Return
After receiving high praise at the NBA Combine, many felt Diallo was more on the fence than expected. Teams were waving around a first-round guarantee, namely from the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks. He had a real decision to make.
And it ended up coming right down to the wire.
It was a night the Big Blue Nation remembers well, refreshing Twitter and other social media accounts non-stop to learn whether or not we would see Diallo ACTUALLY play a game at Kentucky.
Just before the midnight deadline on May 24, reports leaked that Diallo would be returning to school.
He followed it up with this tweet:
Let's Chase Championship #9 BBN!! pic.twitter.com/9Zyd9cPUom
— Hamidou Diallo (@hamidoudiallo) May 25, 2017
7. The Debut
Against Utah Valley to open the season, Diallo finished with 18 points on 8-16 shooting, five rebounds, and three assists. He showed just a hint of just why the Big Blue Nation was so excited to see him suit up in blue and white.
6. One of the lone bright spots against UCLA
The Cats lost in the Big Easy, but Diallo did his part to put his team in position to win. He finished the day with a team-high 18 points, four rebounds, and an assist.
5. Season-high 23 points back in New York
Diallo returned home to New York City to play in Madison Square Garden against Monmouth, and put on a show in the process.
He finished with 23 points on 8-13 shooting, four rebounds, and two steals.
It was Diallo’s sixth game of nine total in double-figures to start the season.
4. Breaking out of the “rabbit-hole” against Missouri
His season got off to a hot start, but went cold late. After finishing six of seven consecutive games with fewer than ten points, Diallo’s confidence was down the drain.
Against Missouri on February 24, however, Diallo managed to break out of his slump with 11 points on 3-3 shooting from three, along with one massive smile following a breakaway dunk.
It was an awesome moment, sparking Coach Cal’s “that’s someone’s son” quote.
You can see the sequence below, followed by Calipari’s comments after the game:
Hamidou Diallo was 3-3 from the 3 point line and had 11 points in Kentucky's win over Missouri. He also tore the rim down and let out a roar pic.twitter.com/61AP2neGeU
— Big Blue Express (@bigbluexpress) February 25, 2018
— KSTV (@KSTV_Sports) February 25, 2018
3. The Virginia Tech Game
In the tenth game of the season against a talented Virginia Tech squad, Diallo played his best all-around game of the season. He finished with 20 points, five rebounds, and three steals, and a season-high four threes, including several clutch shots at the end of the game. Kevin Knox led Kentucky in scoring with 21 points, but Diallo was the best player on the court that day.
2. Facial dunk over Louisville
He “only” finished with 14 points, but his baseline facial slam over Anas Mahmoud to start the game set the tone perfectly for a Cardinal beatdown.
1. Diallo leads the Wildcats to the Sweet 16
Going into the year, we expected to see Hamidou Diallo live on the #SCTop10 night in and night out. We saw a few throughout the year, but rarely did we see it on a consistent basis.
In the Round of 32 against Buffalo, however, Diallo put on an absolute show. He finished with 22 points on 9-12 shooting, eight rebounds, two blocks, and one assist.
Oh, and two absolutely disgusting dunks that turned the college basketball world upside down.
Show them what you’ve got in the league, Hami.