Diallo breaks out of struggles with impressive game


Kentucky freshman guard Hamidou Diallo is introduced to the crowd before the game against Missouri on Saturday, February 24, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. The Wildcats won with a final score of 88-66. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

It serves as no secret that Kentucky redshirt-freshman Hamidou Diallo has been going through a rough stretch— but in Saturday’s game against Missouri, he showed Big Blue Nation why head coach John Calipari hasn’t given up on him, and in the process, received a locker room standing ovation.

Coming out strong in the first half and making an early shot from the three was big for Diallo, and from there he said the rim only got bigger for him. Diallo scored 11 total points and added two rebounds, a block, and a great defensive effort in Kentucky’s 87-66 victory over SEC opponent Missouri.

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Diallo doesn’t shy away from talking about the struggle he’s had this season, but he’s certain that tonight he showed was he’s capable of and is positive things will only go up from here.

“I’ve been going through ups and downs. This path is all about a roller coaster. You’re not going to come in and have a great game every game. What I went through was a bunch of bad games this year, but seeing things go the way the did tonight was really big for me,” Diallo said.

As for the post-game standing ovation Diallo received from his teammates in the locker room, he said that just goes to show that he has a great group of guys around him to help him through tough times.

“I gave Hami a hug in front of the team. They gave him a standing ovation. You know, it’s been hard, and I wasn’t going to kick him to the curb. I wasn’t going to throw him under the bus,” Calipari said.

Along with the support of his teammates, coaches, and fans, an outstanding team shooting effort from the Cats is something Diallo attributes to his breakout game. The Cats went 10-16 from the three on 62.5 percent and shot 54.9 percent from the field.

“I feel like we all can shoot. If you come to our practice you would see that, it’s just all about being in the atmosphere and making good quality shots. That’s pretty much my perspective on the whole shooting thing,” Diallo said.

Diallo believes everybody faces rough times and says you can’t be the type of player you want to be if you can’t face adversity. Moving forward, he said he plans to stay positive and keep working in the gym to help his team as much as he can heading into March.