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Hamidou Diallo “reached rock bottom,” but Calipari is proud of the way he has bounced back

When Hamidou Diallo found himself an open lane in transition for a breakaway slam against Missouri on Saturday, the emotion we saw immediately afterward was one of the most underrated components of Kentucky’s blowout victory.

Diallo had failed to cross the double-digit mark in points in 11 of Kentucky’s 16 games in conference play, and his confidence was down the drain.

The Kentucky shooting guard drilled a three-pointer less than four minutes into the game to knock some of that rust off, but his dunk in transition was the turning point in getting some of his confidence back.

He couldn’t help but let out a big ‘ole grin, almost in a “Hami is back” type of way.

You can see a closer look at the smile in this video:

From there, Diallo hit two more threes for a total of 11 points, and also managed to secure two rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, and no turnovers. He didn’t dominate the stat sheet, but after weeks of trying to break out of his slump, it finally looked like the game was coming easier to him and he was having fun again.

“The team gave him a standing ovation when he came to the locker room,” John Calipari said on his radio show tonight.

And it was well-deserved.

Diallo played 16 minutes or less in four of Kentucky’s last five games, including a career-low ten minutes last Tuesday night against Arkansas. With constant missed shots and defensive struggles, he became virtually unplayable, and fans begged Calipari to keep him on the bench.

On Saturday, he slowed down and simplified the game, and it helped Kentucky play arguably their best game of the season.

“He had to worry about making easier plays and defending better,” said Calipari. “He didn’t make any excuses, he went in and went to work. I told him “If you keep trying to make Hollywood plays, showtime plays, you’re going to stay right where you are. If you stop, and make this game simpler, and just do simple stuff for a while till you build your confidence back, you will be fine.”‘

According to the Kentucky head coach, Diallo “hit rock bottom,” but he’s proud of how well he has managed to bounce back.

“He’s working at it, making easy plays, defending better than he’s ever defended. He has a spirit about him now. He looked defeated before. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you (climb back up.) I’m proud of him,” said Calipari.

But it isn’t just Diallo making strides to help the Cats right the ship. According to Calipari, it has been a collective effort from several different players to achieve one common goal.

“Individual players must improve for the team to improve. If your individual players aren’t getting better, there’s no way your team can get better. Shai is getting better, Quade’s getting better, Hami is getting better, Kevin Knox is getting better, PJ is getting better, and Jarred is getting better,” said Coach Cal.

While several key players are on an upswing, both Nick Richards and Sacha Killeya-Jones aren’t necessarily following the same positive trend. But according to Calipari, like he said with Diallo last week, you can’t give up on them because they’re going to come through right when you need them most.

“You can’t give up on these kids,” he said. “There is going to be a game where (Richards and Killeya-Jones) will step up and help us win a game.”

While most fans felt the sky was falling during Kentucky’s recent rough patch, Coach Cal remained calm and collected because he could see the team’s overall improvement. Now, his Wildcats are looking right on schedule with some of his past UK teams.

“The reason I wasn’t rattled (during the four-game losing streak) was because I could see improvement,” he said. “I don’t know if we’re over the hump. What I do know is that we’re getting better and I like what I’m seeing.”

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

24 Comments for Hamidou Diallo “reached rock bottom,” but Calipari is proud of the way he has bounced back



  1. KYcats11
    8:27 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

    Football recruiting update. KD McDaniel 3 star Georgia OLB is about to commit to UK. You heard it here first.



  2. Catcasey1
    8:33 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

    The bottom line is these players are very good young men first and foremost and that we can be proud of



  3. BigBlueNationDude
    8:42 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

    We love you Hami. You got this!



  4. henderblue
    8:45 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

    I’m happy for Hami. I hope he gets better each game from here on out. If he does our team can go a long way.



    • Luether
      8:50 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

      A big “if” but agree…



    • UK Big Board Update
      9:13 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

      Luether, enjoying your 2013 vacation? 😉



  5. Matty Arbuckle
    8:52 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

    Wouldn’t say he has completely “bounced back” after one decent game. I mean, it’s not like he took over the game or anything, and so it’ll take more than one in a row to evidence a permanent improvement for me.



  6. Matty Arbuckle
    8:53 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

    Still pulling for him, obviously!



  7. UK Big Board Update
    9:26 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

    On Cal after the WVU game:
    Luether January 28, 2018 at 1:34 am | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Let’s not go overboard. A broken clock is right twice a day. A blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn…

    Luether December 21, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    Like it or not, all UK basketball coaches are pretty much graded on how many championships they’ve won. Cal has only one and has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at least a couple of times…

    Luether January 11, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Ky winning a football SEC C’ship? Ha! Not in my lifetime and probably not in Edwards’ either…

    On Drew Barker transferring:

    Luether January 28, 2018 at 1:24 am | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    Should have stuck it out. No respect for quitters…

    On Brad Calipari’s tattoo:

    Luether December 12, 2016 at 7:37 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Just a punk move by Cal Jr…

    On Cal donating to charities:
    Luether July 1, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Gag me with a spoon…

    “UK Basketball Recruiting Rewind: Anthony Davis”
    Luether October 15, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink | Log in to reply.
    $200 K is a lot of $$$…

    On UK not being contacted by the FBI:
    Luether October 6, 2017 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Naive…

    Luether November 11, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    Enjoy the moment. This is as good as it gets, Ky football fans…

    Luether November 11, 2017 at 12:41 am | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    Dook all the way…

    On Hami Diallo:
    Luether November 11, 2017 at 12:34 am | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    This is the same guy who disappeared in the Centre game – 3 for 9 from the field and 5 turnovers. Need consistency…

    Luether September 28, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Would have loved KAT more if he had lead us to a championship…

    Luether May 25, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Way past time for 9…

    On Derek Willis:
    Luether July 20, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Looking forward to seeing him in the “D” league…

    On Hami Diallo:
    Luether May 25, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Briscoe 2.0?

    Luether September 27, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    Hope none of the investigation blows back on Cal or Ky assistants…

    Luether September 27, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Innocent until proven guilty…

    Luether September 26, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    If the NCAA didn’t even wrist slap North Carolina, why should U of L get the death penalty?

    Luether May 28, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    This will be a typical Cal coached FT shooting team. For the Democrats in the audience, this means we’ll lose some games because of poor FT shooting…

    Luether September 20, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Nice try but Darius Miller will never be an NBA starter…

    Luether September 10, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    Ky is and should be an underdog playing at SC…

    Luether September 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    This Louisville story is also about greedy Democrat parents pimping out their son’s to the highest bidder…

    Luether September 26, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink | Reply
    Like It (0)
    If the NCAA didn’t even wrist slap North Carolina, why should U of L get the death penalty?

    Luether May 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    It’s laughable and ignorant to compare Jarren Williams, a Rivals 3 star player, to Teddy Bridgewater…

    Luether November 26, 2016 at 11:23 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    “While Lamar Jackson was focused on giving Heisman poses almost every time he touched the ball”

    A bit of an exaggeration don’t you think Jackie Boy?

    Luether November 20, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Lamar Jackson is Superman…

    Luether December 12, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Lamar Jackson is Superman…

    Luether December 7, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Lamar Jackson is Superman…

    Luether January 12, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Lamar Jackson is Superman…

    Luether November 25, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Lamar Jackson is Superman…

    Luether September 12, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Lamar Jackson is Superman…

    Luether February 2, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    YGBK. Lamar Jackson is Superman…

    Luether
    Luether November 24, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Lamar Jackson is Superman…

    Luether September 17, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Am proud of Stephen Johnson, but Lamar Jackson is Superman…

    Luether December 15, 2016 at 1:08 am | Permalink
    Like It (0)
    Lamar Jackson is Superman and the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner…



    • 4everUKblue
      9:30 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

      Well done.



    • KYcats11
      9:45 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

      Goodness, it is quite entertaining reading Luether’s stupidity. UK Big Board Update is Superman…



    • catsarerunnin
      10:11 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

      Only in much smaller tights.



    • UK Big Board Update
      10:36 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

      catsarerunnin December 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink | Reply
      Like It (0)
      So LeftyMatt had a funeral to attend huh? How sad…and convenient.



  8. BigBlueNationDude
    10:16 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

    Of course 4 ever and kycats would applaud this. The time and effort to do this is sad. Funny you have to also have done this on a pc or laptop. He also made a seperate document to copy and paste each comment then copied entire document. Also he has it saved on his desktop for further use. He literally sits on the dashboard of ksr. Its sad.



    • UK Big Board Update
      10:34 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

      Literally takes 3 seconds. U MAD.



    • BBNDudesboytoy
      10:46 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

      I am breaking my silence. These folks need to know why you are so angry baby! We are having bedroom issues y’all.



    • BigBlueNationDude
      4:27 pm February 27, 2018 Permalink

      Thought it was a secret. Shhh



    • 4everUKblue
      11:04 pm February 26, 2018 Permalink

      LOL…..I knew his little heart was hurting.



    • UK Big Board Update
      9:16 am February 27, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah, he’s mad. lol