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.
The 6-foot-6 Diallo played on the Nike EYBL circuit with the NY Rens and faced most of Kentucky’s incoming class there. He also won a gold medal on the USA U18 team alongside Kentucky commits Quade Green and P.J. Washington.
“He brings length, energy, and freakish athleticism,” said 6-foot-7 small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, who played for the Houston Hoops on the Nike circuit. “He also a great defender/rebounder and [he] plays hard.”
With Kentucky freshmen Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox projected as first-round picks in the NBA Draft, Vanderbilt is looking forward to playing with Green and Diallo as his backcourt.
“I believe he and Quade will definitely complement each other,” Vanderbilt said. “[They have] two totally different games but ultimately [are] compatible.”
Washington, the 6-8 forward from Findlay Prep, played for Team Penny on the Nike EYBL circuit.
“Hami brings an aggressive skill set, he’s always in attack mode,” said Paul Washington Sr., P.J.’s father and the Findlay Prep coach. “Most of the time he’s the most athletic guy on the floor. He has a very high upside. Once he gets a consistent jump shot, he’s going to be even more dangerous.”
Nick Richards, the 6-11 big man from The Patrick School and the Expressions Elite AAU program, knows both Green and Diallo well from the summer circuit.
“I played with Quade at camps and I probably played with Hamidou at camps, too,” Richards said. “And both of them at EYBL.”
Richards earlier told ZAGSBLOG that he believes Green can lead Kentucky to an NCAA championship. Having Diallo won’t hurt, either.
“He’s the guy that likes to find the open man,” he said of Green. “He’s unselfish and a playmaker. Always trying to find a way to win.”
Green, meantime, also knows Diallo from both the Nike circuit and the USA U18 team. Carl Arrigale, his coach at Neumann-Goretti High School, said Green can be a Pied Piper of sorts for guys like Diallo and two other uncommitted stars: Kevin Knox and Mohamed Bamba.
“That’s what I think drew Kentucky to him,” Arrigale said recently on The 4 Quarters Podcast . “I think when they were going around recruiting these other kids, everybody wants to play with him. Everybody loves his mentality and the way he plays.
“So I think he will have some influence with some guys. Him and Mo are pretty close. Mo was at Quade’s announcement the night Quade announced, and I’m sure they’ll catch up down at City of Palms. I know he’s pretty close with Diallo, too. So I think he’s working a little bit behind the scenes. I’m sure he’s made some phone calls and some text messages and some stuff with those guys. He wants some players around him so he can be who he wants to be. So I’m sure he has an idea of who he wants to play with.”
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.