Diallo declares for the NBA draft


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

It had been a while since a UK men’s basketball player declared for the NBA draft, but Hamidou Diallo broke that silence Sunday evening when he put his name in the hat for the 2017 NBA draft.

“Playing in the NBA has always been the ultimate goal for me,” Diallo said in a press release. “At the end of the season, I knew I wanted to see where I was in the draft process and go through that so I could get a proper evaluation.”

However, Diallo won’t hire an agent, giving him the option to return to UK if he does not like the feedback he receives from NBA executives. Diallo will have until May 24, just 10 days after the NBA combine, to decide where he wants to play next year.

“I want to see where my game is and explore my options. I just want to keep all doors open,” Diallo said in a press release. “I want to thank Coach Cal, the coaching staff and my teammates for allowing me to pursue my dreams. My game has grown so much in the four months I’ve been at UK.”

Diallo is a top-10 prospect in the 2017 class, but enrolled at UK early in January. Diallo was eligible to play this season, but opted to just practice with the team this season and improve his game.

In high school, Diallo was a long and athletic wing whose main method of scoring was getting to the basket. Diallo is considered an elite finisher with a potential to be a lockdown defender.

Diallo becomes the sixth member of last season’s team to declare for the upcoming draft, but he, and Bam Adebayo have the option to return next season because they did not hire an agent. The Cats are also still chasing some big-name recruits in the 2017 class, so there are some big decisions to be made soon regarding next season’s roster.