Hamidou Diallo is heading to the Wildcats

Hamidou Diallo
Hamidou Diallo has enrolled at Kentucky and is eligible to play right away.

In a move that had been gaining steam over the past couple of weeks, five-star shooting guard Hamidou Diallo has committed to the Kentucky Wildcats.

What’s interesting, however, is that Diallo, technically a member of the 2018 recruiting class, has enrolled at Kentucky and will be eligible to play right away.

Diallo graduated from Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut last spring and has been playing this high school season as a post-grad player.  He is eligible to play right away, but it’s not clear if he’ll take the floor for Kentucky this season.

This is something of a similar situation to that of Wildcats bigman Tai Wynyard, who enrolled at Kentucky last November and was eligble to play but redshirted the remainder of the season.

At Auburn, class of 2018 five-star center Austin Wiley enrolled at school early as well and he actually began to play for the team almost immediately.  To this point, Wiley has played in 5 games and is averaging 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in about 17 minutes a night.

So what will happen with Diallo?

Basically, he had four options:

  1. Play right away and return to Kentucky next season.
  2. Play right away and declare for the 2017 NBA Draft.
  3. Use this season as a redshirt year to develop skills and play for the Wildcats next season
  4. Use this season as a redshirt year to develop skills and declare for the 2017 NBA Draft following this season.

Juding by the early reports, it would seem like options 3 or 4 are the most likely.  When you consider what a slap in the face it would be for a player to commit to a school and use the program for development without ever playing for them, that makes option 3 the most likely outcome.

Jerry Meyer of 247Sports tends to agree with this:

“It’s hard to say, because it doesn’t happen often like this. It’s not like we have a lot of quantitative evidence,” said Meyer. “But you would think it would be huge, to be there half a season and already be acclimated going into the spring and summer. To be there and experience the postseason, it will be enormous.

“The main thing would be player development. Instead of practicing against high school guys, he’ll be going against college guys.”

Diallo ranks as the #1 player in the 2018 class by Rivals, #11 by ESPN, and #10 by Scout.

Kentucky already has a five-man recruting class for 2018, including five-star center Nick Richards, five-star forwards P.J. Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt, five-star point guard Quade Green and four-star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.


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