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How will you remember Hamidou Diallo?


Hamidou Diallo officially announced he will leave the University of Kentucky with a heartfelt message to the fan base.

“Thank you to the Big Blue Nation,” Diallo said. “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.”

But to say the entire Big Blue Nation believed in Diallo and supported him isn’t exactly true. There was a portion of the BBN, albeit a small one, that was very hard on Diallo on social media — and he saw it. He was hurt by the negativity behind the scenes as his struggles on the court worsened, midway through his only full season in Lexington.

And it was fair to be critical of Diallo during that time because he was in a pretty big funk and did more to hurt his team than help it in some games. It wasn’t a lack of trying or caring, though; but more so a case of simply not being what everyone hoped and expected he would be right away. As a five-star guard with NBA expectations right out of the gate, his time at Kentucky was a little disappointing, given the hype.

So now that he’s off to pursue his dreams, how will you remember Diallo’s time at Kentucky? To you, was he a bust or a kid whose projected ceiling was too high to begin with?

I’ll remember him as the kid who kept me up until midnight the night before the deadline to announce his return. I (along with everyone else) refreshed Twitter a million times that evening, waiting for whatever decision he would make. Then celebrated when he announced his return.

I’ll remember Diallo as the mysterious practice player fans were dying to see in games late in the 2016-17 season, when in reality, he wouldn’t have made a difference. Many of you were all over Calipari for leaving him on the bench in street clothes when he had only been on campus a couple of months.

I’ll remember Diallo for hitting a three-pointer early in the game against Virginia Tech, then turning to a Virginia Tech assistant and yelling, “I got your non-shooter right here.” For a moment, he silenced his critics who said he couldn’t shoot, myself included. He hit four that game.

I’ll remember Diallo for being the only UK player to play well in their homecoming. He shined in Madison Square Garden last December.

I’ll remember Diallo for that dunk against Buffalo.

And that other dunk against Buffalo.

© Kyle Terada | USATSI

But sadly, I’ll most remember Diallo for his January and February, in which he played poorly and it weighed him down on and off the court. The “Inside The Madness” Facebook series gave us a glimpse of what he was dealing with as he struggled, and it only made us want him to succeed even more.

Then there was Calipari’s comment about Diallo: “It’s your son and he’s struggling. It’s your son now, not somebody else’s son. Your son. Would you want me to just bench him and say, ‘We’ll worry about it next year?’ That’s what you’d want me to do with your son?” It was clear Calipari had Diallo’s back when very few others did.

So as I said, unfortunately, I’ll most remember Diallo for his tough times, and not his best games and contributions to the team, or how he truly appreciated his Kentucky uniform. Maybe it’s our own fault for wanting to much out of him?

How do you perceive Hamidou Diallo’s short career at UK?

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

97 responses to “How will you remember Hamidou Diallo?”

  1. Commissionersteele

    I know he is a great kid and he was very proud to have Kentucky across his chest. He truly embraced BBN even though some of us didnt always return the favor. In the end, I simply appreciate Hami-cide for coming back here and trying as hard as he did. Thanks Hami

  2. ScottGreene22

    Freak of nature who needs to learn the game of basketball. If he was a 4 year player at Ky could go down as one of the best.

  3. the ghost of Bill Hicks

    Another dude that was a better athlete than he was a basketball player.

    1. Luether

      Agree. Also, Hami is immature and should have stayed at least another year. He’s clearly NOT ready for the next level…

    2. Sentient Third Eye

      For better or worse, life in the G-League can mature a kid quickly by exposing them to the cynical side of professionalism. If that experience doesn’t crush him, he’ll turn into a solid multi-year pro.

  4. cats646

    Another kid I wish would’ve stayed another year.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Judging by a lot of the comments on here and twitter, can you blame him for leaving?

    2. notFromhere

      No doubt

    3. wyatts1

      Big board I completely understand what your saying but if you think that the NBA fans and the league aren’t gonna be 10X more critical on him then your crazy. I loved/hated the kid all year, but I can honestly say he’s a good example of one of our UK players leaving that would be much much better off if he’d played another year. He’s far from his potential but now he’s gonna have to full fill his potential amount men who are gonna look to make a name by abusing this ex-uk player. I wish him the best and hope he has a long career

    4. cats646

      I don’t blame him at all. I’m just saying that I liked him and thought we could be a lot better if he stayed.

    5. SoCalCat

      I’m glad for the departure. From afar, he needs a lot of work on his shot-making, which it isn’t clear he would have invested the time at UK. Having basketball be his full-time career, he’ll be able to work on that. If only you could marry his athleticism with Nick Richard’s height 🙂 .

  5. Ben27

    I will remember him as one of many Cal players who was not disciplined enough or ready to take the next step. He decides to do it anyway and now the boy has to be successful among men, when he wasn’t able to do so among boys in college. Things are only going to get tougher and he has not fine tuned the skills necessary to make it at the next level. The only player on this years team that can claim the work ethic necessary to succeed it Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

    Why is it that players that stay at UK more than two years leave as failures in their own mind. Other schools such as Duke, Kansas and North Carolina do not seem to have the same problem. They can have great four year players who seem to be happy at their schools! This is Cal’s only major flaw as an elite coach. It is something he definitely needs to solve before he leaves!

    1. notFromhere

      Fan expectations? Cal expectations? Player expectations built by aau and college coaches? A combination of all three?

    2. njCat

      Nope… it’s unique to UK. Cal created the environment by selling NBA first.

  6. UKFootballYall

    Hami-who? In all seriousness, he seems like a great kid and tremendous athlete. Just disappointed for him that his abilities and effort didn’t fully translate to consistent on-the-court success. Was hoping to see him return next year and have it all come together. Best of luck to him though.

  7. notFromhere

    I’ll remember him as one of the many guys that came in a semester early after winter break only to sit on the bench because this coach couldn’t figure out how to use them 1.5 months into the season, like other coaches can and have.

    Wish him the best, though, and wish we’d been able to see him develop on the court here in Lexington instead of the NBA

    1. BBNDan7

      HAMI DIDNT WANT TO PLAY HOW MANY FREAKING TIMES DOES THAT HAVE TO BE SAID

    2. runningunnin.454

      This coach? You mean the HOF coach with the 82% winning percentage at UK? LOL.

    3. notFromhere

      Good for you! Yes. That’s the one! Go ask mama for a cookie, now. Bless your little heart.

  8. kjd

    How he complained about every whistle on him.
    His erratic jumper.

  9. specks

    Well, a very frustrating player to be honest. I do wish him success, but I find it very hard to swallow a player that clearly does not know how to play basketball at the college level decide he needs to take his game to the next level. I think if he stayed one more year and put in the work he could be a mid first round pick next year and make WAY more money then he will leaving after this year. I don’t want to hear that “over recruited” bs either. If you think you are a professional then why would you worry about losing out to another college player? What do you think happens in pro basketball!!?? People are always trying to take your job and it’s from a huge pool of players…..not just your teammates.

  10. crazycatfan65

    I’ll remember him as a kid who truly knew what it meant to put on that UK jersey. He was proud to have Kentucky across his chest.

    1. brassnux66

      Yeah, I don’t think that was true

    2. SouthernPride

      Crazycat fan , you’re delusional.

    3. Commissionersteele

      No its not delusional. He was very proud to play at Kentucky. Just bc it didnt all work out for him here doesnt change that

    4. notFromhere

      Yes, he does. Love his heart and effort. He’ll develop faster working at it full-time

    5. crazycatfan65

      Southern Pride, you are an idiot who knows nothing about the game of basketball. You are what I and most people call bandwagon fans. Go root for Loserville since you are a loser yourself!! A blind man could see how much Hami loved putting on that jersey and having Kentucky across his chest.

  11. StallingsTorturedLoafers

    Seems like a great kid and I enjoyed getting to learn a little bit about his personality through the Facebook series. Unfortunately though I will remember him in the same breath as Skal, a passing memory of a player that could have been great with one more year. This mindset of “every player has to leave after a season or you’re a disappointment” has got to stop. Hami couldn’t hang with the SEC, how is he going to hang with the NBA? He really could have used another year of preparation but I guess he will get that in the G League.

    If Wenyen jumps, as hinted at on the morning show, that will be another frustrating decision for me. I completely understand the poverty he and his family has dealt with but bro, you are ONE YEAR from your degree. Why not just finish it off so that you have something to fall back on when your 5-10 year international career is done? He and his family have made it this far in their situation, what’s one more year for better long term security?

    I love Cal and am appreciative that he has elevated the talent coming through this program far beyond what I ever could have expected. If we have underclassmen that struggle here but are still at the end of the season getting first round projections, it sucks but you know what, go get that guaranteed contract. BUT, like others have mentioned, the constant revolving door of players who aren’t NBA/Pro ready and have no NBA prospects is getting extremely tiresome. It guts our roster year after year, we get the same “we’re the youngest team in the country” line spoon fed to us, and what do the players get? More often than not a spot on the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants or a ticket to play in the former Soviet Bloc.. Doesn’t seem too great for anyone involved.

  12. Shagaris Sock Puppet

    I will look at Hami and look at his career in hindsight like others. He will be rushed to the pros with hefty expectations looming, and will blossom into the potential we all seen. Many players we scratch our head and wonder if their play will translate, and we really dont know. His sample size in Lexington was very small and unfair to judge, but its all we have and it has to be judged. I think we will be looking back wondering why Hami didnt play the way he will play in the NBA, and the answer is quite simple, they didnt have enough time here. Look at KAT, SKAL nd even Devin Booker… Would you have thought they would be were they are now when they were at UK? KAT yes, but he wasnt so perfect here. We get small windows with most of these guys, it is what it is. Somewhere in the middle we have to live with it, and hope that the perfect recipe of old and new happens and they all gel.

  13. bosch8184

    Probably won’t. Just another kid with forgettable game on the Cal assembly line.

    He’s got work to do to get to James Young level skills….who can’t make an NBA roster.

  14. Catuary

    Honestly, in a year or two, I probably won’t remember him.

    1. SouthernPride

      Agreed, this bum will be very easy to forget! Haha he will never see an NBA floor lmao

    2. runningunnin.454

      Idiots Anonymous proud member.

  15. ukkatzfan

    A competitive young man who played his best basketball at a speed and altitude higher than most others.

  16. luke_emberton

    A waste of a scholarship good kid but a complete waste and a complete disappointment

    1. BBNDan7

      Lol says the guy commenting on KSR at 2 in the afternoon while he’s getting ready for the nba draft

    2. Booby Petrino

      Obviously you never had an academic scholarship, seeing as though you can’t put a decent sentence together. Punctuation is your friend, not your enemy.

    3. runningunnin.454

      A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  17. UKinIN

    I’ll remember Diallo as a shooting guard that couldn’t shoot, dribble or pass that had some missed dunks that were better than ESPN Top Ten made dunks.

  18. Hale

    Were Sasha, marcus lee, and charles mathews someone’s sons too? That never seemed to keep Cal from “setting them on the bench and worrying about it next year.”

    1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      Exactly, especially Sacha. I don’t remember how highly the others were recruited, but Sacha was a 5 star in at least one service, and he was clearly outplaying Nick Richards.

      Having said that, Nick Richards, if you’re reading this, go out and get ’em next year! You have your chance big man. Cats!

    2. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      And also, Hami, if you’re reading this, I do wish you the best too.

    3. EdC

      and Gabriel.

  19. henderblue

    Like many of the others, I think Hami would have benefitted from another year here. I wish him the best and hope he has a successful NBA career.

  20. sardiscat

    I’ll remember him as an outstanding run/jump athlete who could have and still can be an outstanding player if he’ll hang his hat on being a demon defensive player instead of trying to prove he’s an outside shooter, which he isn’t. (He actually has good form but no touch except for the occasional game where, Briscoe-like, he feels it only to not feel it again for a number of games). I’ll remember him as a player with a low basketball IQ–how many times do you have to be called for charging before you learn you can’t drive straight to the basket when a defensive player is set up between you and it, no matter how high you can jump, and that horrible shot selection. I’ll remember him as the one player of the Cal era who may have cost himself money by coming back to school for another year–If he was determined to go pro before he learned how to play basketball, he should have gone last year when he seemed sure to at least be taken somewhere in the draft.

  21. God Family UK

    I will remember his smile. When he was enjoying the game and had that big smile on his face. I love to see players having fun playing the game, because in college it is just that a game. Now, it will be a job.

  22. Chacosrule

    I’m glad Drew opened this can of worms. Well played.

  23. runningunnin.454

    Just another open invitation to bash a kid playing a game.

    1. RC

      Why do we have to blindly and unequivocally support a player’s decision to leave our program? Hami’s turning pro and hiring an agent, so he’s entering the adult world of basketball. He’s fair game.

      I’m a fan of the University of Kentucky, not the John Calipari NBA Feeder System. I understand the concept of recruiting the best talent each and every year and I fully understand the economics of professional basketball. I have no issue with kids chasing their dreams.

      However, in some instances, the priorities of the Kentucky basketball program are in direct conflict with the priorities of our players. In these instances I’m going to side with the program. I’m a fan who wants to win championships, not one who cares how many of our kids are Lottery Picks.

      Hami is another UK player who should stay and develop his skill set. He’s not a sure-thing NBA player, and it would benefit both him and UK if he stayed. But Hami has chosen to leave and I have the freedom to question his decision and what it means for the program I love.

    2. runningunnin.454

      It’s his life; therefore, it’s his decision. And, some of the comments are just cruel. There was a similar article last night by Jack Pilgrim. The counter said 28 comments; but, there were only 24; therefore, some of the comments were so bad that they were deleted. Sad that so many of such comments are made by immature people living vicariously through these kids.

    3. UKinIN

      Anyone can question his decision’s impact on the program. I don’t think that’s being argued. But there’s a difference between asking “Who will take Diallo’s minutes? Who will start in his place?” and saying “Diallo sucks and isn’t ready for the NBA so he shouldn’t leave.” (Not saying anyone used the word “sucks”.)

  24. brassnux66

    Another example of the state of mind created by one and done. Daniel Orton, James Young, marquis Teague and Isaiah Briscoe, meet Hami Diallo. Y’all can start your own G-League team now….you do t have a degree to fall back on. Good luck.

    1. DelrayCat

      James Young was a first round pick. I’d bet anything he made more money in his NBA stint, albeit very brief, than 95% of the people on this board do in their lifetimes.

  25. JaminTheCoach

    Who?

  26. Leander Wapshot

    The answer is I won’t think much about him much less have a specific memory. It’s the problem of one year players. They aren’t indelible like Walker, Mashburn, Harrelson. This isn’t a dig on Cal. He’s doing what’s right for the players and I don’t blame them for doing what’s best for them. But what’s in it for the fans?

    1. henderblue

      What’s in it for the fans is that they’ll be another team to cheer for next year.

  27. catdaddyd

    I’ll remember him as the kid who didn’t miss 12 free throws in the sweet 16 game.

    1. henderblue

      Yeah, like you would have made them..

    2. runningunnin.454

      It’s been said P.J. is upset over the criticism from fans, and doesn’t want to return to UK. Many of us think he played the hardest the whole game.
      Thanks for your contribution, catdaddy…smh.

  28. SouthernPride

    As the worst player in the Cal era. I’ve never wanted a player to leave more than him. Have fun in the G league champ. He will never see the floor of an NBA arena… is KY really that bad??? Can’t stay a year or 2 more and get drafted and play in the league? Cal must really be hard on these boys

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Obvious Troll is Obvious.

    2. SouthernPride

      Nope a big cat fan that thought diallo was horrible and glad to see him go. Get your nose off my key board.

    3. notFromhere

      Absolute Troll

    4. 96Wildcat

      LMAO

  29. A_Blue_Wildcat

    It sounds bad but the first word that comes to mind is “forgettable”. I put him in the same category as all the other one and dones who didn’t really impress in their first year but left anyways such as Archie Goodwin, James Young (albeit that team did get to the championship game but let’s be real it was flukey to say the least), Daniel Orton, Skal Labissiere. The problem with the one and done model is that it’s really easy to be forgettable when you have only one year to leave your mark, and unless you stand out there really isn’t a reason for the fans to care enough to remember you. Even someone like Marquis Teague who played a major part in the 2012 championship gets forgotten easily by many. I personally just cannot wait until the one and done rule gets changed just so we actually see players stay slightly more often.

  30. c21judicole

    First of all, why was this article even written, Drew Franklin? I’m very disappointed that you would put this question out there. Why not give the kid credit where credit is due and wish him well. I respect and admire all the kids who come to UK to play, but I don’t respect anyone who would bash them. You go, Hami!! Make your mark in the pros – I’m with you all the way. Remember, the vast majority of fans would NEVER criticize you.

    1. SouthernPride

      That bum won’t make a single mark in the pros. You’re one of the delusional cat fans. Wake up

    2. runningunnin.454

      I see only one bum, and it’s not Hami.

    3. henderblue

      I think Slater is back under a new name rg. SouthernPride.

  31. The Professor

    I certainly wish nothing but great things for Hami and hope that one day his wish of becoming an NBA player comes true. However, at this point in his career he has no shot of making an NBA roster next season.He does not possess one skill that is at an NBA level. Yes, he does possess great athleticism but that alone is not enough. Why not stay, get a degree and hone your skills with under a great coach in front of 24 ,000. Instead, he will be taking bus trips between Des Moines and Ft Wayne with a no name coach to play in front of a a few hundred people for $35,000 per year.

  32. connor

    I like Hami and think he is a great kid but sadly he disappointed me big time. Twice we had to wait for him to make a decision (the recruitment and then last year at the draft deadline) and he was good for a handful games in 1 and a half years. I understand his decision to leave and hope he succeeds in the nba. I will be routing for him just like all of our former players. However I am unsure that he will ever have a career in the nba, there are plenty of uber athletes but when they seem to lack a fundamental understanding of basketball and really anything besides athleticism,explosiveness , and semi good defense i don’t think it will equate to a long or prosperous nba career. If he is not a first rounder he will be doomed to the d league and have a year or 2 to figure it out before a being given up on. I wish hami luck in his future endeavors, however he brought me as a fan, a lot more wondering and waiting than anything else.

  33. UK Maine-iac

    Seems like Drew is trying to stir the pot for likes and comments. I’m guessing drunk again. Why not pose the question toward any player that leaves early? KSR hires the weirdest people to be “journalists”.

    Anyway, good luck in your NBA career Hami. I’m glad you chose UK, and this fan was proud to have you on our side.

  34. Wade

    He got blocked more than he scored, he committed more fouls than points, he had more bad than good conversations with coach, but he jumps high when he’s at the combine. It’s just honesty. At the end he started being a quality player maybe he can turn the page and make a career for himself but he must fix his shot it’s a scorers league.

  35. Kat4Life

    Terrific athlete, apparently a pretty good kid, but a horrible basketball player.

    1. MadScientist

      still better than Archie Goodwin!

  36. Azulgrande75

    Unfortunately, Hami has to be judged as the least productive 5-star player Cal has ever coached. Especially when you consider he had an entire season to practice with the team and hone his own skills with marginal improvement. His athletic skills are off the charts and I wish him well on his future endeavors. Buena suerta Hami!!

    1. Angelo

      Was Poythress a 5 star?

    2. JTHinton

      Poythress was huge in the 2014 FF run

  37. Duuuuuude

    He was the shooting guard that couldn’t shoot, and the slasher that wouldn’t slash.

  38. blueballs80

    I have seen a lot of posters here depict the worse of a young man but we have to remember he is still a 19 yr old kid growing and learning. Did he argue with his coaches – yes, did he argue with his teammates- yes. Some posters here are acting like they have never acted like that in their late teens early 20’s. I am sure their parents coached them well but these kids still did their own thing.

    I wish you well Hami. Remember to trust in your teammates and accept coaching. Accepting coaching at the next level is harder but you will reap the rewards. I hope this message finds you well and as Coach Cal says Succeed and Proceed.

  39. rcope58

    Hami to me is a kid with freakish talent. I anxiously awaited the raw talent to align with with a dominant court presence that never occurred. I wish him nothing but the best in his endeavours,

  40. Randall lee

    Who?

  41. wildcat74

    Honestly, we won’t. He’ll be like Goodwin or Briscoe and be in Asia or Europe in two years. The NBA doesn’t work for SGs who can’t shoot, dribble, or pass. Another poor decision from a kid who rushes development that may lead to a decent pro career in the name of instant satisfaction and gratification.

  42. kentuckyrld

    I’ll remember him as a another great kid with all the potential in the world who never learned to shoot the ball. If you can’t shoot, you can’t play. It is as simple as that. The fact is that for him to be successful in the NBA he needs at least two more years of college ball. His future is overseas at best.

  43. Ridge Runner

    A different take for me is just how much he enjoyed the off court fun. He was so genuinely excited I remember singing Christmas Carols with some of the team. Laughing, getting onto the guys who weren’t singing loud enough, etc.. Good luck Hami!

  44. MadScientist

    Good Luck Hami, pursue your dream.
    You could use another year or two of College Basketball, but I understand your decision. You can’t afford to get lost in the shuffle. A projected draft pick is difficult to pass up. And you only have one more opportunity to visit the combine.
    Continue to work on and off the court and you can become great. Find your niche and own it!

  45. kybirdieman

    Should have stayed and developed a shot. another Cal athlete that can’ shoot the ball consistently.

  46. Sentient Third Eye

    He was probably the freakiest athlete ever to play for UK, but he really only tapped a small fraction of that talent while here. His upside is so high that he could end up being a really good pro, if he ever puts it all together. All the flashes of brilliance were definitely just that: brilliant.

    1. RC

      Hami is a great athlete- yes. But “probably the freakiest to play for UK?” Nope.

      Top of my head- Eric Bledsoe, John Wall, Kelenna Azubuike, Kenny Walker, Rex Chapman, Derek Anderson, James Blackmon, D’Aaron Fox- all just as athletic as Hami Diallo.

    2. Sentient Third Eye

      Rather than mere opinion, I’m going by an objective standard: his performance at last year’s combine where he put up historically-great numbers, highlighted by the second best vertical in history.

    3. EdC

      Dwight The Blur Anderson

  47. 4everUKblue

    Sadly I will most remember how some of our great fan base treats players and coaches when they don’t live up to some of our expectations. Sad to say but true.

  48. 57nukeduke

    Wish he would stay thru his senior season, good luck Hami and God bless!

  49. BluesBrother

    Who?

  50. Buffalo Cat

    For most of the season he was one of my least favorite UK players ever. His shot selection, lack of effort and defense was just frustrating.
    He came around at the end of the year, but kind of relapsed in the K-State game. True or not, he did not seem to want to be here, playing as part of a team, not being “the Man.”
    This is further evidenced by his decision to leave, when he is not nearly ready. He does not, at this point, have the game for the NBA or even good European teams, and he would benefit from the coaching at UK far more than coaching in the G-league.

  51. jim tom

    Already forgotten. Hami Who ?.

  52. dbake

    Another that needed to return. Has a lot of skill just does not know how to use it properly. Probably my least favorite player on the team so disappointing watching him play this year. All you heard about every game was his freak athleticism and his 247 inch vertical. Either of which didn’t help him out to much in college. Odds are they will not in the NBA. Calling like it is if you watched any game this year and dispute this your hiding in your own world. Don’t get upset when a bad player is called out for being bad……the world needs a little more truth in it without someone getting butt hurt when called out on it

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