The NBA Combine got a whole lot interesting when John Calipari walked in. Cal showed up at the Quest Center in Chicago to check in on his guys, De’Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Adebayo, and Hamidou Diallo, and was immediately swarmed by reporters. ESPN brought him on air, and after complaining about his headset (“This is typical ESPN, stuff’s falling off my head here!”), Cal started his pre-draft stump speech, diving headfirst into the situation surrounding Hamidou Diallo, who has yet to decide whether or not he’s staying in the draft.
“We have Hami[dou]. Hami in the agilities is really going to do his thing,” Cal said. “He’s not played, and he’s just gone from, woo, wait a minute now to, you keep not playing and you’ll be a lottery pick.”
“Hami, he practiced with us. The last guy to do that was Enes Kanter. He practiced for the year and he was the fourth pick in the draft. Hami practiced four months. If he’s a lottery pick, I’m retiring, I’m done. There’s nothing more I can do. He has a chance of being drafted and doing all this stuff. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing. People are mad, ‘He didn’t play!’ This is what this is for. And if at the end of the day, if someone going to draft him in the first round, 21, 25, lottery pick, it’s hard for me to tell him to come back.”
After the commercial break, Fran Fraschilla asked Calipari what it would take for him to tell Hamidou it’s time to go.
“It would have to be in the first round and probably 21, 22, something like that.”
Diallo’s measurements are off the charts, which has some general managers considering taking a risk on him even though he didn’t play last year and (wisely) decided not to play at the Combine. When asked, Cal said Diallo’s freakish measurements and upside are why he’s going through this process.
“That’s why he’s here and that’s why this is the way it is. And he’s young. They’re looking at him four, five years down the road. The issues becomes, you’re going to be in the D-League for a while. Are you going to accept that? The other thing I want to tell you, from 17-21, you’re making a million dollars a year. Their investment isn’t like five million a year where they’re going to give you time. The better position to be drafted, the more they’re investing in you.”
Video from the lovely Jennifer Palumbo:
— Jennifer Palumbo (@JenNimePalumbo) May 11, 2017