Hamidou Diallo (Vicky Graff Photo)
By JESSICA JONES, Contributing Writer
Fans. We are Kentucky fans. We are passionate. We love our team. We love our players. However, it has become increasingly apparent that fans think they need to voice their displeasure for the decisions some of the Kentucky players have made.
Here’s the thing: It’s not our life. It’s not our decision. It’s not our future earnings. It’s not our career. None of us have been faced with the same decisions these young men go through at the end of a season at Kentucky.
First it was Isaiah Briscoe. Many were mad that he chose to sign with an agent. I don’t understand why a fan would be mad at him. I’m happy for him. I hope he gets drafted in a great spot or finds a great team. Do you think he doesn’t know where he stands? Do you think he’s misinformed? You’re wrong. I promise you that Isaiah is fully aware of where he stands and weighed his options and made a decision that he felt was best for him.
Why on Earth would fans be mad at him for doing such? Do you think he owes you something? He doesn’t. Would you like to skip two years of college and make money to play and get better? I think so. Some of you are under the false belief that players only get better in college. Wrong. Aaron Harrison’s undrafted salary was partially guaranteed for around $75,000. I think I would take that rather than going to college for another year or two making $0.
Let’s look at the case of Andrew Harrison who went D League for his first year. The highest D League salary was $25,500 but now Andrew is making over $900,000. I think I would take that too. So before you want to bash Briscoe for his decision, put yourself in his shoes. He made a business decision.
Even if it wasn’t a “good” one, it’s not your choice and it’s not your life. Isaiah will live with the consequences but I bet most likely he’ll be very rich, very soon. He might have to go through a year of D League but I’m guessing it will pay off for him just fine.
Then there was Isaac Humphries. I saw many bashing his decision as well. Why? He has a chance to make some money as well. With the frontcourt Kentucky has coming in, maybe he doesn’t want to be a junior backup anymore? Have any of you been there? Maybe it was high school and the freshmen that came in started over you the junior or senior. It’s not easy. If he doesn’t get drafted or make an NBA team, he does have the opportunity to be a professional in his home country and also BE RICH.
Get over yourself if you think he owes you anything. I’m tired of fans getting mad at 18-22 year old kids for making a decision to advance their careers beyond college. How many bone headed decisions did you make when you were 18-22? I’m guessing at least one. These decisions are big life decisions for these guys’ careers and futures. Don’t you think they have considered the options?
Now we take a look at the one and only Hamidou Diallo. First of all, John Calipari took him on the condition that he wasn’t going to play. Why would he? Some of you are saying that he would have made a difference. Maybe he would have. Maybe he wouldn’t. How do you know? Have you seen him play college ball? Nope. None of us have. What’s the cost of him playing in January? You don’t develop chemistry with a team overnight. Also, what if he would have highly exposed his weaknesses after being on the team for just a few weeks? Ask Harry Giles how it worked out for him.
Hamidou maybe wasn’t ready. Maybe Hamidou simply didn’t want to take the risk of being exposed. The important thing to remember is that this was the plan from day 1 and Calipari took him knowing he wasn’t going to play this year. Calipari took a chance. He took him under the condition that he didn’t play this year and would possibly be a top guy next year or he doesn’t take him at all.
If I’m Calipari I take that chance 100 times out of 100. You have the opportunity to have the an insanely talented kid who also has half a season of experience and is a freshmen. Think about that. It’s a no brainer. You take him.
Here’s a news flash: declaring for the draft doesn’t mean he’s leaving. Stop freaking out. Stop bashing him. He has the opportunity to get feedback from NBA personel and start networking, making connections, and building relationships. Think of this like a job. He’s going to talk to the best in the business at his dream job and learning what he needs to get better at so when he comes back in one year he can make the highest amount of money possible. Wouldn’t you do that?
Think about it. Stop blaming Cal, stop blaming the kid. Both are doing what’s best for Hamidou Diallo and that’s what Calipari is known for. Some of you want to make the argument that Calipari isn’t doing what’s best for the program. You like all these high rated classes don’t you? Do you think he gets these talented guys by being self-serving? Not.
Here’s something else to think about: Had Cal said “No, if you come you have to play,” Diallo likely goes somewhere else. Or, worst case scenario, he takes him, doesn’t play him, and he leaves for the NBA. Either way, he never plays for Kentucky. What’s the big deal?
Let me also mention to you that if you don’t think Calipari can use that to get big recruits later on, you’re crazy. A kid comes in and just PRACTICES with our team for 4 months and gets drafted. Wow.
Also, how do you know Hamidou coming in didn’t help our team? Just because he didn’t play doesn’t mean he didn’t help the team. He likely went against Monk, Dom, and Fox in practice. Don’t you think that might have made them better? I do. This kid is making the best decision for him and if I were to bet on it I would bet that he does play for Kentucky next year. If you were paying the slightest bit of attention when he signed, this seemed like the plan all along. It’s still the plan.
Why can’t he get feedback from the NBA? Because a fan says so? No. Knock it off. It’s childish and selfish. Also, I’m guessing Calipari likely knows what Diallo’s plans are and has a plan. If Diallo leaves, I’m guessing Cal has an idea and has something up his sleeve. He’s Cal. He always does. Remember Jamal Murray? So, BBN, take a deep breath and let this kid go get his feedback that is rightfully his and then come back to Kentucky driven to become a lottery pick in next year’s draft.
You might think the players and parents of recruits don’t see what you put on twitter or Facebook but I promise, they do. Stop it. Be respectful and responsible. You want to get more recruits? Stop bashing current players on social media. Sure, I would love to have every talented kid that comes to Kentucky stay all four years but the reality is that just isn’t going to happen. You want us to stop recruiting the best talent? Then you better be willing to hang in on rebuilding years where we don’t even make the tourney. Cal has Kentucky a title contender every single year because he’s the best at what he does. Let him do his job. Let these kids make their decision.
Most of all, remember: IT’S THEIR DECISION. Are you asking them to care more about Kentucky than they do their own career? That’s just not realistic. I’ve heard some people say that Cal should care more about Kentucky. He does. Trust me. He is also always going to do the very best by these kids and he will get our program ride if they decide to leave. He always has.
If Cal put the program ahead of the kid, he wouldn’t be getting many of these kids. Pick your road. Personally, I like the road we’re on. If Diallo comes back, which I believe he will, he will have made a very smart choice to get the information and then improve on the areas he needs to. And Kentucky will be very good.
If Diallo decides to remain in the draft, Kentucky is going to be just fine. And still really good. There’s absolutely no reason for fans to be upset at Cal or Diallo for this decision that Diallo has made. Do you think Cal is going to tell him “NO, don’t do it!” No way.
Wish Diallo the best and hope he comes back. If he doesn’t, wish him luck and watch and see what magic Cal pulls out of his hat.