There are few players in the nation who are better than Hamidou Diallo.
To be exact, there are only nine of them according to 247Sports’ Composite rankings, which place him at No. 10 overall and tops among all shooting guards.
At 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds, Diallo is in a class of his own in the open court, exciting crowds with mammoth dunks and the ability to put defenders on skates with shifty ball handling skills.
At Putnam Science Academy last year, Diallo helped lead his team to a 37-4 record and a berth in the Final Four. He averaged nearly 17 points, five rebounds, and two assists a game. While he’ll need to work on his outside range, his attacking style garners him many attempts from the free throw line. In those 41 games, he shot 221 free throws – an average of over five per game.
His coach at PSA, Thomas Espinosa, explained to me what makes Diallo so great.
“His best basketball is in the open floor,” Espinosa said. “He really gets up and down. He’s special when the game is up and down and is such a tremendous athlete.”
Luckily for Sean Miller, his free-flowing, up-tempo offense is an exact fit for Diallo’s skill set. When Coach Miller visited PSA on September 13, he was able to express this and more.
“Coach (Sean) Miller and Coach (Book) Richardson both came last week and we talked for a while and then they sat down with Hamidou and had a great conversation,” Espinosa said about the visit. “He’s really excited about Arizona and the possibility of going there. Me, personally, I was very impressed with Coach Miller and Coach Richardson and it’s exciting what will happen next.”
“Arizona has a lot of future NBA players and that’s what they pitched to Hamidou,” continued Espinosa. “I know Arizona’s history with big, long, athletic guys who are great in transition and that’s him to a ‘T’ and he’d be a great fit at Arizona.”
While the shooting guard doesn’t officially have a list, it’s pretty apparent who is recruiting him, and that would be the top programs in the country.
“At the end of the day, there’s probably 10 schools recruiting him right now,” Espinosa explained about the current status of Diallo’s recruitment. “He hasn’t cut a list yet but there’s a handful that are really recruiting him. He’s enjoying the process and I know he’s not in a hurry.”
I’d estimate those schools would be Kentucky, Connecticut, Syracuse, Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Indiana, Maryland, St. Johns, and Arizona State, as they have visited or shown plenty of interest lately. However, it’s probably unofficially down to five or so. Currently in his Crystal Ball, Kentucky leads UConn, Syracuse, and, Arizona, but the most recent picks have been two for UConn, and one each for Syracuse and Arizona.
Diallo has had the right attitude for this process telling the Hartford Courant: “The recruiting process is a great process. I'm honestly just blessed, and hard work is paying off, I would say. The process itself has been a great process; a bunch of college coaches reaching out to me, top of the line coaches, it's been a great process."
Moving forward, the post-grad star could take a couple visits before the season starts, and then take “two or three during the season,” according to his coach. “Right now he’s saying he’s going to wait and not rush.”
While this could all change if he falls in love with a campus, it looks like coaches around the country will need to keep one scholarship spot open in the spring just in case.