Diallo will return to UK instead of going pro


Kentucky Wildcats guard Hamidou Diallo #4 smiles while walking off the court after the Wildcats game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Rupp Arena on January 21, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Kernel Sports Staff

After weeks of anticipation, freshman guard Hamidou Diallo has decided to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to UK next season.

The decision came only minutes before the deadline to withdraw his name from the draft. Diallo had spent the last couple of weeks evaluating his draft stock and working out for NBA teams.

Diallo started his draft stock evaluation by posting ridiculous numbers at the NBA Combine on May 9-14. At the combine, he recorded the third fastest three-quarter sprint, the fourth highest standing vertical leap and the highest max vertical leap.

Diallo’s max vertical leap was over two inches taller than anyone else at the combine, and was the second highest leap in NBA combine history.

Diallo’s impressive numbers from the combine earned him workouts with the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, according to Adam Zagoria. Despite the combine results and workouts with NBA teams, Diallo hardly saw his projection of a late-first round or early-second round pick change.

“The one thing I’ve learned through this whole process is how grateful I am that I came to the University of Kentucky,” Diallo told UK Athletics. “Coach Cal and the staff have had my back throughout this entire journey. They were honest with me from the start, had my best interests at heart and walked me through every step. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system.”

UK fans won’t be upset to see Diallo return to the Cats as he will join a loaded incoming class that features six five-star recruits including Diallo. Kevin Knox was the most recent prospect to join the class that already has big expectations for next season.

The Diallo decision was likely the final big decision regarding the roster of next year’s team. The Cats are still chasing Pittsburgh grad transfer Cameron Johnson, but now fans have a decent glimpse of who they will see on the court next season in Rupp Arena.