The University of Kentucky’s basketball roster turnover appeared to continue Friday with a report that Hamidou Diallo will enter the 2018 NBA Draft.
The report, by Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports, citing multiple anonymous sources, said Diallo plans to hire an agent, which would put an end to his collegiate eligibility. The report said Diallo’s announcement is coming soon.
Diallo, a redshirt freshman, would be the fourth UK player to enter his name in this year’s draft and the third to make the decision permanent. Freshman forward Kevin Knox announced his departure last Friday, and freshman point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander followed suit on Monday. Freshman forward PJ Washington said April 3 that he will enter the draft but will not retain an agent, keeping open the option of returning to UK next season.
Three additional players have also announced their departures. Sophomore forwards Sacha Killeya-Jones and Tai Wynyard plan to transfer. Junior guard Dillon Pulliam said he’ll move on to graduate school at Carnegie Mellon after completing his undergraduate degree at UK this spring.
Meanwhile, Kentucky has received commitments this week from two five-star prospects from Georgia — 6-foot-11 forward EJ Montgomery and 6-3 point guard Ashton Hagans. Montgomery will join the team this coming season. Hagans would have to reclassify to do so, a decision considered likely. Kentucky previously signed 6-6 guard Keldon Johnson, 6-6 guard Tyler Herro and 6-3 guard Immanuel Quickley for 2018-19.
Diallo started all 37 of Kentucky’s games this season and finished fourth on the team in scoring at 10.0 points per game. The 6-foot-5 guard also averaged 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He shot 42.8 percent from the field, including 33.8 percent from three-point range.
His breakout performance came during Kentucky’s round-of-32 NCAA Tournament victory over Buffalo in Boise, Idaho, when Diallo delivered 22 points and eight rebounds to help the Wildcats pull away.
“Hami was amazing,” Gilgeous-Alexander said after the game. “We definitely don’t win without Hami today. He was big, especially down the stretch.”
Diallo enrolled at UK for the second semester of the 2016-17 school year. He practiced with the Wildcats the rest of that season but did not participate in any games. After the season, Diallo entered the NBA Draft and impressed pro scouts at the league’s combine in Chicago with his athleticism but decided to remain at Kentucky for one more season.
Diallo is projected as an early-to-mid second-round pick in most NBA mock drafts.