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.
Hamidou Diallo Says He’s ‘100 Percent Going to College’
By PERNELL THOMPSONPOTTSTOWN, Pa. — Hamidou Diallo, one of the top players in the country, says he is “100 percent” going to college even though he is eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, as ZAGSBLOGfirst reported in August.
After a 70-50 win by Putnam Science Academy (CT) over the Phelps School (Pa.) in the PSA Cardinals Prep Showcase where he finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks, Diallo reaffirmed that he is totally focusing on going to college next year.
“I’m 100 percent going to college right now,” said Diallo, who ran with the NY Rens on the Nike EYBL circuit last summer. “I believe it is the right thing for me and my family right now.”
Diallo is down to six schools with Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, UConn, Syracuse and Arizona all making the list. Kentucky head coach John Calipari, whose No.-1 ranked team was coming off a 97-92 loss to UCLA on Saturday, came to watch Diallo Sunday evening along with several other recruits, including 7-footer Mohamed Bamba of the Westtown (Pa.) School.
“He has watched me play plenty of times now, so I don’t get nervous or anything like that,” Diallo said of Calipari. “It’s great to have a guy like him in here recruiting me and telling me stuff that I need to work on.”
Syracuse is also pushing very hard for Diallo as he says he has a great relationship with the coaching staff.
With head coach Jim Boeheim — who watched Diallo last month at the National Prep Showcase in New Haven — expected to retire after the 2017-18 season, Diallo does not believe that it will automatically rule out the the Orange in his recruitment.
“Not necessarily,” Diallo stated in regards to Boeheim’s impending departure. “It’s just something to look into and pick the pros and cons of every school. Every school has a pro and a con.”
UConn assistant Dwayne Killings was also on hand and Diallo said the school is very active in his recruitment and he has a great relationship with the program.
“UConn definitely,” he said. “I have a great relationship with the coaching staff and from the players down, they have been recruiting me hard.”
Diallo performed in front of about 30 NBA scouts last month at the National Prep Showcase in New Haven, but Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com said the scouts came away thinking Diallo should spent at least a year on campus.
“[The NBA scouts] were disappointed by the lack of urgency that he showed,” Givony said. “He was kind of going through the motions and coasting. His jump shot still needs a lot of work. His body needs a lot of work. If Hamidou is not going to play hard, then he’s just not that interesting a prospect. He’s 6-5, 190 pounds without a great jumper. You can find that a dime a dozen.
“What I loved about Hamidou before that with USA Basketball, on the AAU circuit, Adidas Nations, every time I’ve seen him play, he was always playing harder than everybody else. He was a monster defensively. He seems to kind of have backed off of that a little bit and that’s not a good sign for him. I think he’s a much better prospect than what he showed, but when NBA guys come to evaluate you and you turn in that kind of performances, they might not come back. So he has to be thinking strongly about college at this point.”
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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 whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.