Editor’s Note: Below is Drew Franklin’s feature on Diallo from earlier this week. Tonight the nation’s No. 1 shooting guard announced he will be enrolling at Kentucky next week for the spring semester.
With Hamidou Diallo set to announce his decision this weekend, fans of the basketball programs he is considering are on pins and needles, anxiously awaiting the word. That word will come down Saturday at 5 pm from a ceremony at Our Lady of the Angelus Church in Rego Park off Queens Boulevard in New York.
We will have full coverage of the announcement in the hours leading up to Kentucky’s 8:30 pm tip with Arkansas in Rupp Arena. But first, let’s get to know Hamidou Diallo, the next Wildcat?
He will pick from six finalists: Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse.
However, only three of those schools — Arizona, Connecticut and Kentucky — are believed to be serious contenders.
He took official visits to Connecticut (Dec. 21) and Kentucky (Dec. 26).
He was scheduled to visit Arizona this coming weekend, but recently canceled that trip to stay home and make his announcement, which suggests Arizona is probably out of the running.
Great Official Visit to Kentucky !!!
— Hamidou diallo (@Diallo1Hamidou) December 28, 2016
Kentucky paid him a visit on eight different occasions since the start of the fall recruiting period.
Going back to Tony Barbee’s visit on the first day of the fall recruiting period on September 9, either Calipari or Barbee or both have made eight separate trips to see Diallo.
His plan is to enroll immediately, but not play until next season.
If you’re to believe the reports, Diallo has plans to be a one-and-a-half-and-done prospect. Though he is eligible for next summer’s draft, he believes it is in his best interest to enroll in the upcoming spring semester to get a head start on the 2017-18 season, then declare for the 2018 draft.
By enrolling and joining a program next week, Diallo would be able to practice, work out, train and even travel with the team he chooses, which would be hugely beneficial in preparing him for his true debut next fall.
Think about that for a second — we’ve seen how good Calipari’s star freshmen are when they’re on campus to start the summer as opposed to arriving in the fall; now add five more months of preparation (against Malik Monk) to that.
He is widely considered the best shooting guard in the class.
ESPN is the only major recruiting service that doesn’t consider Diallo to be the best two-guard in the Class of 2017. The World Wide Leader prefers Gary Trent Jr., a Duke signee, and Collin Sexton, an Alabama signee who is more of a point guard, over Diallo. All three graded out as a 95 in ESPN’s scale.
Shooting Guard | 6-5 | 195 lbs.
Queens Village, NY | Putnam Science Academy
AAU: New York Rens
|ESPN||No. 11 | 3 SG||Top247||No. 9 | 1 SG|
|Rivals||No. 10 | 1 SG||Scout||No. 10 | 1 SG|
He is from Queens, New York.
The last time Kentucky had a player from Queens, it won the national championship. (That would be your boy D Lamb.)
He attended Putnam Science Academy in Putnam, Connecticut.
Diallo decided to attend school 160 miles from home to, in his own words, focus strictly on basketball and his schoolwork.
“It’s just a quiet town, not much going on,” he said of the move to Putnam. “Just time for me to work on my books and on my game. There’s nothing going on, no distractions. I would say that changed my life right there. Without that, I would’ve still been out here in NYC with a lot of things to do.”
He already graduated from Putnam.
Thus, he is eligible for college and the 2017 NBA draft.
He played the first part of the season as a post-grad student, before recently deciding to leave for college.
He has a 6-11 wingspan.
For a little perspective, Malik Monk’s was only 6-3.5 when measured at the Kentucky combine. Tai Wynyard and Wenyen Gabriel each measured out at 6-11.
Oh, he can fly, too.
He wants to play to with Quade Green.
Not a "package deal" by any stretch but continuing to hear lot of buzz that Hamidou Diallo would love to play with Quade Green at next level
— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) November 2, 2016
Quade Green, as in Kentucky’s point guard next season.
You gotta like hearing that.
His YouTube highlights are really something to behold.
Get in here, Hamidou.