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.
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Hamidou Diallo: Addition of Mohamed Bamba Would Make Kentucky ‘Scary’
CHICAGO — Hamidou Diallo isn’t sure if he’ll ever play with Mohamed Bamba in college, but he knows that if Bamba chooses Kentucky they will be a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end.
“I mean if Mohamed Bamba comes to Kentucky it’s going to be really scary for people to score,” Diallo said in response to my question here at the NBA Draft Combine.
“He’s definitely a great player, he’s another brother of mine”
Like Diallo, who is from Queens, N.Y., the 6-foot-11 Bamba is a native of the Big Apple, hailing from Harlem.
Diallo believes Bamba — who is also considering Duke, Michigan and Texas and is projected as a top-5 pick in the 2018 Draft– could be a defensive “Twin Towers” along with 6-11 Long Island native Nick Richards of The Patrick School.
“Definitely a Twin Towers,” he said. “I mean Mohamed Bamba’s probably one of the longest basketball players in the world.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari added some intrigue, saying he’s not done recruiting.
“We’re not done yet,” he said per SECCountry.com. “So when we get done with everything, I’ll talk about that class.”
As for the addition of Kevin Knox to Kentucky’s 2017 recruiting class, Diallo said he wasn’t surprised that Knox picked them over Duke, North Carolina, Missouri and Florida State.
“I wasn’t surprised,” he said. “I mean he really liked his visit and I had a strong feeling deep inside that he was going to pick Kentucky. It’s just a different program and it’s really hard for us to lose.”
Diallo said he received texts from players on the current team and incoming recruits encouraging him to do well at the Combine.
“All the guys that’s coming in, they should be excited,” Diallo said. “They all bring something different to the table and it’s going to be a very special team.”
Whether Diallo ends up returning to that team remains unclear. He plans to work out for 3-4 teams next week and then go from there.
Even though he didn’t play 5-on-5, his 44 1/2-inch vertical leap here probably didn’t hurt his chances of going in the first round.
As for a decision on staying in the draft or returning to Kentucky, he said “100 percent has both doors open.”
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.