By LARRY VAUGHT
As expected, five-star shooting guard Hamidou Diallo verbally committed to Kentucky Saturday during a press conference and plans to be on campus this week to start second semester classes.
He graduated from Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut last spring and has been playing there as a post-graduate player this season. He could be eligible immediately but the plan seems to be for him to join the team, practice, not play and then be a contributor next season.
He is also eligible for this year’s NBA Draft, but has not been projected as a pick in mock drafts to this point.
The 6-5 Diallo picked UK over Syracuse, Kansas, Indiana and Connecticut, the long-time favorite.
He has been a big recruiting target for UK coach John Calipari. The coach went to see him Dec. 30 and Calipari and his staff made eight visits to see him during the fall recruiting period.
“To me, he is one of the best scorers in the country. He’s not a shooting guard. He’s a scoring guard and if he’s not the best in the country, he’s one of the best,” said Putnam coach Tom Espinosa. “He needs to work on his shot. He knows that. His strengths are getting to the rim and scoring in transition. He struggles in the half-court offense. Right now that is still his biggest weakness.”