Hamidou Diallo, a University of Kentucky freshman, spoke about sitting out his first year.
Diallo, a five star recruit out of New York City, chose Kentucky over Duke University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Arizona and Syracuse University. Because of the culture and glut of one and done players at Kentucky, Diallo decided to redshirt his freshman year.
“It was all about being prepared and not rushing things,” said Diallo on Friday before Kentucky defeated the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. “Just coming in, getting used to the system, getting used to [coach John Calipari], getting used to all the coaches, and getting used to these guys.”
Diallo also discussed his frustration at making that decision. According to him, he felt like there were times that he could have helped his teammates more on the court than by sitting on the sidelines.
“For any competitor and basketball player, I feel like it’s hard to be on the bench. This is the most I’ve ever sat on the bench,” said Diallo. “Any competitor would feel like they can go out there and give it their all, lead these guys to a victory. Being with these guys, not being able to help them on the court, it’s tough. But it’s part of the plan.”
Because Diallo graduated from the Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) last year, he is eligible to opt for the NBA draft in June, but he claims he will return to KU next year.