2018 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Hamidou Diallo

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

This is the fifth installment in a series of regular postings on draft prospects. This series will take a look at the top draft prospects for the 2018 NBA Draft in June. The plan is to have one or two a week, leading up to a flurry of activity the week of the draft.

Hamidou Diallo

School - Class

Kentucky - Freshman

Age at time of draft





6’5½" (with shoes)


200 lbs



Average Mock Draft rank


Pro-player comparison

Victor Oladipo (6'4¼" Height, 6'9¼" wingspan, 42.0 max vertical)

Hamidou Diallo is a 6’5½" shooting guard with a plus-plus 7’0" wingspan. He is an athletic freak. A tremendous run-and-jump athlete that excels in the open floor. He was measured at last year's NBA Draft Combine with an unreal 44½ maximum vertical leap and a three-quarter court sprint time of 3.11 seconds. If he is drafted, Diallo would be one of the highest NBA verified leapers ever.

To put Diallo’s vertical leap into perspective, the highest verified and recorded vertical leaps were Michael Jordan (46" recorded at UNC), and Jach LaVine (46" at a workout with the Lakers). Note that LaVine's NBA Combine max vertical measurement was "only" 41½-inches and Michael Jordan was never measured at an official NBA Combine. Wilt Chamberlain was reported to have a 48" maximum leap, and the legendary David "Skywalker" Thompson said that his highest max vertical leap measured 48".

Since the NBA started measuring players at the pre-draft combine, only one other player has recorded a higher maximum vertical. Former University of Memphis player D. J. Stephens posted a 46-inch maximum in the 2013 NBA Draft Combine. Stephens went undrafted but played 3 games for the Milwaukee Bucks under a 10-day contract in the 2013-14 season. He currently plays overseas.

Diallo doesn’t have much of an offensive game at this point. His jump shot mechanics lack consistency and he sometimes has a bit of a hitch in his release. Funny that I didn't notice the hitch on catch-and-shoot threes, but off-the-dribble it is very apparent. Diallo has scored in double figures in only 2 of his last 13 games and is shooting 32.8% from the field (30.7% from three) and has a combined 8 assists in those 13 games. To be a decent NBA player, he will have to clean up his jump shot mechanics and become much more consistent.

His ball handling is pretty basic. He can get to the paint with straight-line dribbles, but he lacks any advanced ball handling techniques. He moves the ball, but I certainly wouldn't call him a good passer. He makes safe, easy passes and currently either lacks the court vision or the aggressiveness to do more with the ball.

For a superior athletic player, I didn't see a lot of highlight plays in the games I watched. Especially in transition, you would expect to see at least some monster dunks, but instead I saw a player that mostly jumped off two-feet and dunked with two hands. Very unspectacular. With is verticality, I was expecting to see him dunking over everyone; but all I saw was a lot of awkward looking scoop shots and floaters. He rarely jumped off one foot, and looked like he had to gather and go up with two feet to get any real explosiveness.

With his quickness, length (7'0" Wingspan) and leaping ability I would expect Diallo to be a very good defender; and he is a decent one-on-one defender. He plays with consistent energy and always in a fundamentally sound defensive stance, knees bent, arms up (or out). But in a team situation, there are too many times when Diallo missed an assignment, didn't seal off the baseline, failed to make the appropriate switch, etc. Some of that may be because this Kentucky team is so young (the starters are all 18 or 19 years old) and they are not experienced enough to play good team basketball. But it is still a concern.

Against good NCAA programs, Diallo has not fared well. He picked up 2 quick fouls early in the first Tennessee game, and was a non-factor the rest of the way (5-points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 personal fouls). He played a bit better against a terrific West Virginia team in a Kentucky loss (13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists); but really did not play well in the second meeting with Tennessee (0-points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 fouls) as it appeared that Coach Calipari limited Diallo's minutes (13). It looks like Calipari has limited his minutes in a few games lately; and Diallo has had some heated exchanges with Coach Calipari and acknowledged earlier this year that "I can’t be talking back to my coach on the bench."

"He's trying," Calipari said "He's got some habits that are so bad – and they are habits – that they pop out sometimes at the wrong time. My job is to make sure he's not hurting the team"

Diallo's draft stock is dropping. CBSSports has him falling out of the first round, as does Tankathon (36), and nbascoutinglive (46). Some of the other mock drafts have him dropping into the very late first round. At this point, Diallo is more of a pure athlete than a basketball player. If basketball were just about running and jumping, Diallo would be the best prospect in this draft; perhaps the best in the last several drafts.


  • Good size (6'6"), and superlative length (7'0" Wingspan)
  • Elite athlete. Great speed and vertical leap (44.5")
  • Excellent lateral quickness
  • Defensive potential
  • Good body control
  • Plays with high energy, excellent motor.
  • Effective in transition
  • Scores well on the move
  • Huge upside


  • Needs to improve as a shooter
  • Mediocre free throw shooter (61.5%)
  • Needs to develop advanced ball handling techniques
  • Needs to improve as a team and off-ball defender
  • Doesn't bring much in half-court offensive sets
  • Doesn't have great feel for the game
  • Can add some upper body strength
  • Not a good passer

Hamidou Diallo tested the waters in the 2017 NBA Draft. He never played a game for Kentucky in the 2016-17 season, but because he graduated from high school in May 2016 and enrolled at Kentucky in January 2017, he was technically eligible to declare for the 2017 NBA draft. Since he never hired an agent, he was able to withdraw from the draft in May and return to Kentucky. So here he is, a year later, looking at the same decision. Should he enter the draft, or stay at Kentucky.

Diallo is an elite level athlete with speed, quickness and great length. He has all the physical tools to be a truly special player but will need time to develop. If he were to develop his jump shot into a real weapon, hone his ball handling and other skills, he could eventually become an All-Star type player. And that is why I think he should eschew this year’s draft and return to Kentucky for his Sophomore year.

How Diallo can fit in with the Wizards

Diallo is several (four, maybe five?) years away from contributing at this point, but he could be an absolute home run as a late first round pick. If everything plays out right, Diallo could develop into a multiple All-Star type player. (Think: Vince Carter). The Wizards can certainly afford to keep some young, cheap talent on the end of the bench, especially one that has this kind of high upside.

On the other hand, trading away first round picks has depleted the team of young, developing talent. In my opinion, it's better that the Wizards use their first round pick this year on a player that that can contribute much sooner.

Previous Draft Profiles:

Mitchell Robinson

Khyri Thomas

Daniel Gafford

Jacob Evans

Hamidou Diallo’s 44½ maximum vertical leap at the 2017 NBA Draft Combine

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.