Kentucky basketball: Is Hamidou Diallo making the right choice?

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 09: Hamidou Diallo
LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 09: Hamidou Diallo /

Hamidou Diallo decided not to participate in the NBA Draft Combine. Is that really the right decision, or is Diallo out of his mind?

Hamidou Diallo, a redshirt freshman last season for Kentucky, decided to enter his name into the NBA Draft. Diallo hired an agent, closing the door on a possible return to the Wildcats. The decision was questionable, but expected. Diallo has now decided not to participate in the NBA Draft Combine. That decision is just plain nuts.

Diallo entered his name in the NBA Draft last season, only to remove it at the last moment. He wowed scouts at last year’s combine by recording the second-highest vertical jump ever. Diallo, however, never played a minute for 2016-17 Kentucky basketball team and decided to suit up for last year’s squad rather than go to the NBA.

Diallo, while he never fell out of the starting lineup, was not the player Big Blue Nation was expecting to see. This was especially true considering he received half of a season of extra practice.

Diallo’s athletic ability is off the charts. All of Rupp Arena sprung to their feet when Diallo was on the fast break. But Diallo’s outside shooting never took off. Last season, Diallo shot barely 33% from downtown. Even more concerning was his 61% free throw percentage.

Next: Comparing NBA stars to Kentucky basketball players: Hamidou Diallo

Hamidou Diallo did not do enough last season to warrant a first-round pick. Diallo averaged 10 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Players like Zhaire Smith (Texas), Grayson Allen (Duke) and Bruce Brown (Miami) are easily rated higher than Diallo. So why not try to improve your stock by participating in the NBA Draft Combine?

Most mock drafts have Diallo projected as a late-second round pick and some even have him going undrafted. Diallo can do nothing but improve his stock by participating in the combine. Skipping out on the event in Chicago in mid-May is a mistake.