Hamidou Diallo declares for NBA draft despite never playing for Kentucky

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Kentucky freshman Hamidou Diallo announced Sunday he is declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft without an agent, despite the fact he’s yet to appear in a collegiate game with the Wildcats.

“Playing in the NBA has always been the ultimate goal for me,” Diallo said in a statement. “It’s part of what makes Kentucky so special is that it prepares you for the next level better than anywhere else. When I decided to enroll in January, my plan was to come to Kentucky to work on my game and to focus on school. At the end of the season, I knew I wanted to see where I was in the draft process and go through that so I could get a proper evaluation.”

Diallo came to Kentucky in January after graduating from prep school in May. He was originally slated to be a member of the 2017 recruiting class but reclassified, allowing him to enroll for the second semester. He was eligible to play for the Wildcats in the second half of the season but head coach John Calipari opted against it.

“With the information that will be available to Hami and the feedback he will receive by going through this process, I fully support his decision,” Calipari said. “It’s in his best interests to evaluate if now is his time or if he would be better served returning to school. Whatever Hami ultimately decides to do, you’re talking about an athletic guard with great ball skills, an unbelievable finisher and a terrific defender.”

Diallo becomes the sixth underclassman from last season’s Kentucky roster to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft, but is just the second who can return to school next season, joining Bam Adebayo in not signing with an agent. Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe, and Isaac Humphries all signed with representation, ending their college eligibility.

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