Earlier this week, top-10 2017 prospect Hamidou Diallo announced he would be making his college decision on Saturday at 5 p.m. The announcement teased his final six schools, but only two received official visits before Diallo made his decision.
Those two schools are UConn and Kentucky.
Early rumblings were that Diallo was making visits with the intention of joining a team in the middle of this season. For UConn fans, it would have been a gift from above. The season’s hopes were quickly deteriorating but adding a bona fide NBA prospect, even if it would be for just a few months, would have been life-changing.
Lately the reports are that Diallo is planning to enroll, not play this season, and play all of 2017-2018 with his team of choice. This is a curious decision, as Diallo is eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, but after making it through the NCAA clearinghouse, it seems he still wants the college experience.
This plan actually gives UConn fans more hope than if Diallo was looking to join a team just for the remainder of this season, which continues to go downhill for the Huskies. Kevin Ollie has a much better situation to offer Diallo next year, and has put in a ton of work on this recruitment. The main benefit over Kentucky is that UConn can offer more of a starring role.
For your average one-and-done prospect, though, Kentucky is always going to be in consideration. Head coach John Calipari has made a living bringing in the country’s most promising freshmen and getting them into the first round of the NBA Draft. Of course, it’s likely these talents would have been drafted high anyway (see: Ben Simmons) but Cal has been putting them in a good position to succeed and thrive alongside similarly motivated players.
Most scouting analysts have gone back and forth between predicting Diallo to Kentucky and UConn across the past few weeks, but now seem to feel he is leaning towards the Wildcats. He made a visit to UConn in late-December and then visited Kentucky the following week. The Queens native who has apparently wrapped up his career at Putnam Science Academy was planning to visit Arizona too but that is clearly no longer happening.
When Hamidou Diallo makes his decision, it will either be a hallmark day for UConn Men’s Basketball, where Diallo could reunite with his former high school teammate and play close to home, including a guaranteed date at MSG, or another five-star recruit joining Calipari’s army. The Wildcats already have four five-star, top-25, commitments and a four-star as well in the class of 2017.
Nobody knows for sure what will happen, but usually when a guy cancels a planned visit the most recent school he did visit becomes the leader. One week after his visit to Kentucky, Diallo sent the tweet out about his upcoming announcement.
Hopefully KO had a chance to make a final pitch and has some last-minute magic up his sleeve. UConn hoops fans could really use some good news right about now.