Hamidou Diallo to Take Officials to Kentucky, Arizona | Zagsblog
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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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Saturday / December 7.
  • Hamidou Diallo to Take Officials to Kentucky, Arizona

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    Hamidou Diallo will take his official visit to Kentucky Dec. 26-28 and is also expected to take one to  Arizona, ZAGSBLOG has learned.

    Kentucky does not play again until Dec. 29 at Ole Miss, and doesn’t play at home until Jan. 3 against Texas A&M, so Diallo’s visit there won’t happen for a game.

    The Arizona visit could come in early January. Arizona hosts Utah Jan. 5.

    The 6-foot-6 Diallo is eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft and is considering enrolling in a college at the semester break but no final decisions have yet been made, sources close to Diallo told ZAGSBLOG. It also remains undecided whether the high-flying guard would suit up for a college in the second semester. (He could also opt to sit out, practice and play the 2017-18 season in college.)

    Kentucky on Friday landed a pledge from small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, giving them five commits for 2017, including three frontcourt players in Vanderbilt, Nick Richards and P.J. Washington. They have two guards committed in Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander but have long coveted the high-flying Diallo. Green previously told ZAGSBLOG he would try to recruit Diallo to Kentucky.

    Kentucky’s pitch to Diallo will likely include the argument that he would get the chance to practice against some of the best guards in the game on a daily basis, including projected one-and-done first-round picks Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox and sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe.

    Kentucky coach John Calipari saw Diallo earlier this month at the PSA Cardinals Showcase in Pottstown, Pa., and assistant Tony Barbee saw Diallo at the National Prep Showcase last month in New Haven.

    Diallo is also considering Indiana, Syracuse and Kansas.

    Diallo took his first official visit to UConn — first reported by ZAGSBLOG — last week and it culminated in the Huskies’ 70-67 loss to Auburn Friday afternoon at the XL Center.

     

    Because he has already graduated high school and is doing a postgraduate year, Diallo is eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft — Celtics GM Danny Ainge recently scouted him at Putnam Science — yet Diallo has said he’s “100 percent” set on attending college.

    If he enrolls in January, he could potentially only be on campus for a few months before possibly declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft: the so-called “half-and-done.”

    He has been watched throughout the season by numerous NBA personnel — including at the National Prep Showcase in New Haven, Conn. last month.

    At that event, most NBA scouts said they thought Diallo wasn’t yet ready for the NBA and should attend college.

    “Based on what I saw tonight and this summer he should attend college and continue to develop his game,” one NBA scout said. “He’s athletic and flashes some skill but has a ways to go from being NBA ready. I think someone would draft him for his talent but it’s not about making the league, it’s about giving yourself the best chance to stick.”

    “[The NBA scouts] were disappointed by the lack of urgency that he showed,” Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com 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 Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.