The school announced Wednesday that Diallo has enrolled in classes, but it's doubtful the Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) standout will play for the Wildcats this season. He is expected to practice with UK the remainder of this season and play during the 2017-18 season, although he is also considered an attractive NBA prospect who would be eligible for the draft since he was a post-grad student this year.
“I’m blessed and excited to be here at the University of Kentucky,” Diallo said in a statement issued via UK. “I can’t wait to hit the floor and get rolling and get better each and every day. I chose the University of Kentucky because the plan Coach Cal had for me was just phenomenal and I felt like this was the best place for me to achieve my goals. I felt like this was the best choice for me and my family.”
“What excited me was that Hamidou wanted more than anything else to train with our guys and to practice and wasn’t worried about playing games this year,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “It gives him an unbelievable head start on next year, and as I told him, he’s being put in a position to lead next season because he’s going to have that head start on everyone else."
A native of Queens, N.Y., Diallo (6-5, 188) averaged 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in his senior season before graduating in the fall. He was a key member of the 2016 USA Men’s U18 National Team that won a gold medal at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in July.
“As far as what Hamidou can do, he’s a 6-5, 6-6 wing who is an unbelievable defender, athletic, has great ball skills and is a terrific finisher," Calipari said. "He’s going to challenge Malik (Monk), De’Aaron (Fox), Isaiah (Briscoe), Mychal (Mulder) and Dominique (Hawkins) every day, which is great for our team, as well as what they’ll challenge him to do.
"This wasn’t expected, but I’m so happy for him that it’s played out this way where he can come in and focus on getting better and getting ready to chase his dreams.”
Diallo’s enrollment marks the second straight midyear enrollee for Calipari and Kentucky. Current redshirt freshman forward Tai Wynyard enrolled early last season.
If Diallo remains in the program next season, he'll join Scout's current No. 1 recruiting class that already includes five-star prospects Jarred Vanderbilt, P.J. Washington, Nick Richards and Quade Green, as well as four-star prospect Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.null