It’s officially official, folks; Hamidou Diallo is a Kentucky Wildcat. UK just sent out a press release announcing the news, noting that the current plan is for the five-star shooting guard to sit out this spring and practice, then play the 2017-2018 season.
“I’m blessed and excited to be here at the University of Kentucky,” Diallo said. “I can’t wait to hit the floor and get rolling and get better each and every day. I chose the University of Kentucky because the plan Coach Cal had for me was just phenomenal and I felt like this was the best place for me to achieve my goals. I felt like this was the best choice for me and my family.”
“What excited me was that Hamidou wanted more than anything else to train with our guys and to practice and wasn’t worried about playing games this year,” John Calipari said. “It gives him an unbelievable head start on next year, and as I told him, he’s being put in a position to lead next season because he’s going to have that head start on everyone else.”
Diallo will be considered a member of Kentucky’s 2017 class, which also includes five-star signees Quade Green, Nick Richards and P.J. Washington; four-star signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander; and five-star commit Jarred Vanderbilt. As Calipari notes, Diallo’s biggest contribution this season will be in practice, where he can challenge Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Mychal Mulder, and Dominique Hawkins.
“As far as what Hamidou can do, he’s a 6-5, 6-6 wing who is an unbelievable defender, athletic, has great ball skills and is a terrific finisher. He’s going to challenge Malik (Monk), De’Aaron (Fox), Isaiah (Briscoe), Mychal (Mulder) and Dominique (Hawkins) every day, which is great for our team, as well as what they’ll challenge him to do. This wasn’t expected, but I’m so happy for him that it’s played out this way where he can come in and focus on getting better and getting ready to chase his dreams.”
UK also sent out this awesome video welcoming Diallo into “the family”:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 11, 2017
Welcome to the family, Hamidou.