After weeks of speculation about whether he would announce his college decision in early January with the intentions of enrolling in college in time for the start of the spring semester, top-10 Class of 2017 prospect Hamidou Diallo announced on Saturday afternoon that he would be taking his talents to Lexington next week, where he will immediately enroll in classes and join the basketball program. Although he didn’t clarify whether or not he plans to suit up this season, reports have consistently stated that plans are for him to simply practice with the team this season and get a head start on the Class of 2017 before debuting in 2017-18. Being that he finished his high school requirements last spring and will turn 19 in July, Diallo is technically eligible for this June’s NBA Draft. We caught up with him in his LeFrak City neighborhood in Queens, NY, last November.
Five-star basketball recruit Hamidou Diallo didn’t reveal his commitment to the University of Kentucky until 5:51 p.m. Saturday, nearly an hour after his announcement ceremony was scheduled to begin.
A snowstorm that had been raging all day had already blanketed Diallo’s hometown of Queens, N.Y., with about a foot of snow, according to his AAU coach, Andy Borman, who said his normally 8-minute drive to the building where Diallo played youth basketball as an 8-year-old lasted an hour and a half.
The winter weather delayed the well-wishers, but it didn’t keep them away.
“The place was packed,” Borman said. “It just shows how much of an impact Hamidou has made in the community. He’s a legitimate hero to a lot of these kids.”
Diallo announced — to an approving roar from those gathered — that he was committing to the Wildcats and will enroll in classes at UK next week. His plan is to join the team for the second semester, work out and practice with the current Kentucky players, but not actually play in a game for the Cats until next season.
No matter when he makes his UK debut, his addition is a big one for Coach John Calipari, who has added another five-star player to a 2017 recruiting class that was already ranked No. 1 in the country.