Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Kentucky told Hamidou Diallo back in August they would track him going forward.
And on Saturday night, John Calipari walked into the Albertus Magnus College gym to watch the 6-foot-5, 185-pound 2017 shooting guard from Putnam (CT) Science Academy. UConn coach Kevin Ollie was also on hand to watch Diallo and 2016 signee Mamadou Diarra.
“I definitely noticed Coach Calipari and Coach Ollie out there,” Diallo said after going for 8 points in a 90-78 blowout of Montverde Academy Prep at the National Prep Showcase.
Still, Diallo was frustrated because he’s dealing with injuries to his Achilles and thumb that limited his play.
“I feel I played alright but a couple injuries [are] holding me back right now so I couldn’t play to my highest level,” he said. “It was definitely frustrating because I wanted to put on a show but couldn’t put on a show. It is what it is. Hopefully they see me again and I play better.”
The Queens, N.Y. native holds offers from Kansas, Florida, Villanova, Maryland, UConn, Providence, Louisville, N.C. State, Indiana, Iowa State, Seton Hall, VCU and UMass, among others.
“Schools are trying to get me to commit left and right,” he said. “I just don’t worry about that, I just come out and play. I’m not making any decision any time soon.”
He said Arizona and UNLV are the latest schools to text him.
“The schools that came in the most this year are UConn and Providence, the closest schools,” he said. “They’ve been in the most. Some schools been in twice a day.”
As for UConn, “It’s a great school, great program, great coach.” He said they told him he would be an “immediate impact player” there.
Diallo has visited UConn, Providence and St. John’s, and he lives five minutes from the St. John’s campus.
“I hear from St. John’s quite a bit,” he said. “The whole staff came in to see me most. Matt [Abdelmassih] and Slice [Rohrssen] and [Chris] Mullin, they all reach out to me.
“It’s good but they’re in the same boat as every other school.”
As for Kentucky, he said an offer is “something I want” but he’s not really focused on it.
“They run a great program,” he said. “Their pitch is obviously they run an NBA clinic, they send those guys to the NBA, so that’s been his pitch to me.”
CALIPARI ALSO WATCHES BAM ADEBAYO
Earlier Saturday, Calipari watched one of his six new signees, Bam Adebayo, go for 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting and 10 rebounds “while being triple-teamed,” High Point (N.C.) Christian coach Brandon Clifford told SNY.tv.
Last week on The 4 Quarters Podcast, Clifford compared the 6-foot-9 Adebayo to a former NBA star.
“I’d compare him to Shawn Kemp,” Clifford said. “He’s 6-9, Bam’s up to 260 now, eight percent body fat. He’s just powerful and he’s really, really good in the open floor. On the circuit, not a lot of people were able to see that.
“He has skill, he can play the game, he’s not just a power guy. I’d compare him to the ‘Reign Man,’ I think that’s the closest comparison.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.