(WTNH)–For all of the UConn fans still holding out hope that this nightmare of a season might somehow, miraculously be saved by five-star Putnam Science Academy guard Hamidou Diallo, well—we’ve got some bad news.
Diallo, who revealed Wednesday that he will announce his college decision at 5 p.m. on Saturday, appears to be heading where most five-star recruits these days end up—Kentucky.
Scout.com national recruiting director Evan Daniels, who has a pretty good track record on commitments, told SECCountry.com on Thursday that the Wildcats are the clear leaders in the clubhouse.
“I like Kentucky’s chances. I wouldn’t trade their position with anybody,” Daniels said. “It really comes down to Connecticut and Kentucky, but heading into it, Kentucky is in the best spot.”
Diallo visited Lexington on December 28, sending out this tweet afterwards:
Great Official Visit to Kentucky !!!
— Hamidou diallo (@Diallo1Hamidou) December 28, 2016
The 6-5 guard from Queens reportedly told his teammates this week that he will be leaving Putnam Science Academy, where he was spending a postgrad year, and will enroll in college for the second semester.
That would make him eligible to play immediately, and put him on track for the 2017 NBA Draft, but Daniels says that’s not his plan.
“He’s not planning to play this second semester. He’s just going to come in and work out and try to get better,” Daniels said. “His thought process is that he needs to get in a college environment and get to a place where he can get better on a daily basis. I don’t think he’s necessarily ready to step on a college floor, because he would be coming into things very late.”
When it was first reported that Diallo was leaning heavily towards leaving Putnam Science Academy and enrolling in college for the second semester, UConn seemed to be the favorite to land him. It wouldn’t have made much sense for Diallo to crash an already-loaded Kentucky backcourt, with two players, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, who will almost certainly be lottery picks.
But now that it seems his plan is just to observe and get better, with an eye on the NBA in 2018, Kentucky figures to be the obvious choice.
Diallo would have a chance to star in the Wildcats’ backcourt next year, with Monk and Fox likely gone. He’d also have a terrific supporting cast surrounding him, including incoming five-star freshmen Jarred Vanderbilt, P.J. Washington and Nick Richards, and whoever stays from this particular group of NBA-bound mercenaries.
Given how horrendous UConn has looked on offense this season, you’d have to think Diallo believes he’ll have a better chance to impress NBA scouts in Lexington than he does in Storrs.
We’ll find out Saturday, but given what we know now, UConn fans shouldn’t hold their breath.