For a minute, it looked like Hamidou Diallo was going home. Diallo was drafted 45th by the Brooklyn Nets, but was quickly traded to the Charlotte Hornets, where he will join former teammate Malik Monk.
Diallo arrived at Kentucky halfway through the 2016-17 season but redshirted. That summer, he tested the waters of the NBA Draft and, despite first-round interest, returned to Kentucky for another year. Diallo averaged 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while starting all 37 games. He finally broke through in the postseason with a 22-point, eight-rebound performance against Buffalo in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
While he struggled at times at Kentucky, Diallo’s athleticism is unquestionable. At the 2017 NBA Draft Combine, he posted a 44.5″ vertical, the second highest in the history of the event. Although his numbers were down at the combine this year, he’s considered one of the best athletes in the draft.
John Calipari posted this pre-recorded video congratulating Hami on achieving his dream:
— CoachCal.com (@CoachCalDotCom) June 22, 2018
It wasn’t the easiest season for Hami, but he filmed this thank you message to Kentucky fans before the draft:
Our man @hamidoudiallo has a message for the #BBN just hours away from one of the biggest moments of his life. We can’t wait to watch his dream come true. #DreamBig #NBADraft #NBACats #WhoWantsToBeNext pic.twitter.com/XXoojISo2m
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) June 21, 2018
Diallo has been traded AGAIN, this time to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oklahoma City has acquired Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo, league sources tell ESPN. Charlotte selected him with the 45th pick. Deal cannot be done until July 6.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2018
Charlotte had Malik Monk and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, so fans were obviously excited to see Diallo join the party. That being said, OKC is a much better situation for the former Wildcat with an opportunity for early playing time.
Congrats, Hami. We’re rooting for you.