247Sports’ Director of Basketball Scouting Jerry Meyer is reporting on the possibility that Hamidou Diallo, a consensus top-10 prospect in the class of 2017, may be joining UConn this coming spring. He is currently on an official visit, and is staying through the Friday afternoon game against Auburn.
There had been rumors last year that Diallo would reclassify and join a team in the fall of 2016, which didn't come true. He also needed to get his scores up to be academically eligible, part of why he is currently doing a post-graduate year.
Why would he leave his prep school team to do one semester of college hoops? For starters, Diallo is eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, having graduated high school in 2016. This move would allow him to play at the next level close to home and thrive due to the unique opportunity offered by Kevin Ollie’s team in its current situation.
Diallo has been opening eyes in his senior season at Putnam Science Academy and has many believing he’s ready for the NBA right now. In the time remaining until the draft, his best chance at raising his draft stock is in college. This way he gets to the NBA as soon as possible but still has a shot at the college experience and an opportunity to impress on a larger stage.
Why UConn? Besides the obvious, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard is very familiar with the coaching staff and players at UConn, having made many visits to Storrs. The Husky staff has made their interest known, traveling all over to see him play, including showing up three-deep at the City of Palms Classic in Florida.
The role the Diallo could occupy for UConn is far greater than what any of the other five schools he is closely considering can offer. Of the six schools which Diallo is down to, four—UConn, Kansas, Arizona, and Kentucky—have open scholarships. But only the Huskies can offer him the primary scoring duties. Ultimately, the transition to Storrs from Woodstock, Conn. would be relatively easy for the New York City native.
There is no way to appropriately describe how monumental this would be for UConn in a season which had sunk to unthinkable lows early on. Adding a likely lottery player in Diallo, considering the solid roster around him, would perfectly fill a void and elevate this year’s Huskies back into NCAA Tournament contention and the possibility of a deep run.
One can dream.
We will obviously continue to monitor this situation closely. Try to get some sleep tonight.
UPDATE: (12/21 - 11:20 a.m.) Per the New Haven Register’s Dave Borges, Diallo has made it through the NCAA clearinghouse, so the decision is up to him.
UPDATE: (12/21 - 10:55 p.m.) Diallo is on campus RIGHT NOW. It was known Diallo would be at the Auburn game on Friday, but for all we know he may actually be playing in it. This could really happen.
UPDATE: (12/22) Diallo was in attendance at UConn practice Thursday and is staying with the team in Hartford, per standard procedure for an official visit. According to Borges, he does plan on making at least one other visit before making a decision.