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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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Tuesday / June 27.
  • Hamidou Diallo Decision ‘Going Down to the Wire’ (UPDATED)

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    Kentucky “none-and-done” Hamidou Diallo will likely go up against Wednesday’s deadline before deciding his immediate future.

    “It’s going to the wire on Wednesday,” a source told ZAGSBLOG. “A decision could be made before Wednesday but right now it’s looking like Wednesday.”

    Players have until midnight on Wednesday to withdraw from the NBA Draft and retain their college eligibility. Already this week, Arizona’s Rawle Alkins, Texas’ Andrew Jones, West Virginia’s Jevon Carter, St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams and Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado have withdrawn.

    The 6-foot-6 Diallo has gotten mixed feedback after working out for the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks and the Nets. DraftExpress.com still has Diallo projected as the No. 35 pick by the Orlando Magic, meaning he wouldn’t get guaranteed first-round money.

    The Celtics pick at No. 1, the Bulls at No. 16, the Bucks at 17 and the Nets have two picks in the 20s, No. 22 and 27.

    Meantime, the Nets, Miami Heat and Utah Jazz have reached out in recent days to Diallo’s AAU coach, Andy Borman of the NY Rens. The Jazz have two first-round and two second-round picks, while the Heat pick at 14.

    Diallo had a 44 1/2-inch vertical leap at the NBA Draft Combine but did not play 5-on-5 there.

    “I don’t think he helped or hurt himself,” DraftExpress.com analyst Jonathan Givony told the Herald-Leader. “There really wasn’t much to go on. So I don’t think it really affected anything either way.

    “The teams I’ve talked to, they don’t know much about him. I guess it’s just going to come down to these workouts now. Whatever he can show there. Because I don’t know what they’re going to draft him off of right now.”

    Diallo hasn’t played competitive games in front of NBA personnel since Adam Finkelstein’s National Prep Showcase back in November. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, Kentucky assistant Tony Barbee and about 30 NBA scouts saw him then.

    “Based on what I saw tonight and this summer he should attend college and continue to develop his game,” one NBA scout said in November. “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.”

    Diallo, of course, then enrolled at Kentucky in January but didn’t play a single game for the Wildcats. Now he’s testing the NBA Draft waters without an agent and has the option to return to college.

    “I would not be surprised myself if his combination of athleticism and skill opens some eyes, and then he’ll have a tough decision,” ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla said on The 4 Quarters Podcast. “Do you want to be the 25th pick in this year’s Draft, or do you want to have a chance to maybe be a top-10 pick after your freshman year? I don’t think there’s any question a team will take him in the first round, based on just his age, his size for a guard and that crazy combination of skill and athleticism.”

    If Diallo returns to Kentucky, he will join a loaded recruiting class that includes guards Quade Green, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jermarl Baker, forwards Kevin Knox, Jarred Vanderbilt and P.J. Washington and center Nick Richards.

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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.