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Hamidou Diallo trying to be “best defender” he can be

Hamidou Diallo (Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Some questioned when Hamidou Diallo left Kentucky after his freshman season for the NBA, especially when he was only a second-round pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Yet in his rookie season he shot 45 percent from the field. However, just like when he was at UK, he struggled with 3-point shooting and made just 17 percent of his treys — a mark that has to improve to prolong his professional career even if he is so athletic that he won the NBA Slam Dunk Championship.

“I’m just trying to go out there and be the player that I know I am, try to get my teammates involved and try to be a leader as much as possible,” Diallo told Nick Gallo of NBA.com after a summer league game in Las Vegas.

What Diallo did exceptionally well for a rookie was play defense and create chaos that often led to transition points just like he did for the Wildcats.

Diallo obviously knows defense can help him stay in the league.

“I’m just trying to be the best defender that I can be. I know that’s going to be a big, huge role for me coming into this year and that’s a big emphasis that me and coach (Billy Donovan) have talked about multiple times,” Diallo told Gallo.

“I’m just trying to go out there and be the best defender that I can be, try to be in coverages and try to sniff out things and try to learn the game as I’m doing all of that as well.”

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  1. Hami is a perfect example of a kid who was highly ranked in high school because his physical attributes allowed him to dominate, yet he was lacking in so many areas such as defense and outside shooting. He was an average college player at best and most likely will have a short NBA career. He didn’t get a degree and most likely won’t come back to get one. You can’t really say he is a victim of the OAD era since he tried to use it as a shortcut to an NBA career. I wonder what the future will be for him in 5 years…hopefully, he will go back to school somewhere and have a better shot at a career outside of basketball.

    1. Well, if he gets NBA money for two years hopefully he saves it and would not surprise me to see him back at UK eventually to finish his degree

  2. One can only hope for that Larry. There are certainly enough examples of those who only lived in the moment and got left behind in the future. That doesn’t have to happen to Hami if he is smart enough to see things for what they are.

  3. Catmandoo I’m glad your so perfect. Jeez!!!

  4. Question…do other schools offer life time scholarships to committed basketball
    players

    Do other universities besides Kentucky offer lifetime scholarships to basketball players? Is this peculiar to Kentucky basketball and do football players enjoy the same privilege? Not straight on this…curious!

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