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Confidence is Rising for Hamidou Diallo

Photo by Keyli Chisesi (Go Big Blue Country)

 

When redshirt freshman guard Hamidou Diallo decided to withdraw his name from last summers NBA Draft, it surprised some a lot of national media members. Diallo, who possesses out of this world athleticism, had a wide range projection from late first round to mid second round. Ultimately, the explosive guard decided to return to Kentucky and the fans are glad he did.

 

After a strange year of wondering if he would become the first none and done of college basketball, the knock on Diallo’s game was a consistent jump shot and motor. Through the first ten games of the season, neither is in question.

 

Over the last four games, Diallo has knocked down 5-of-12 three-point shots, including a 4-of-7 performance on Saturday afternoon vs. Virginia Tech. On the season, he is shooting 38 percent from long range, much better than preseason predictions.

 

The freshman guard started the season strong with three consecutive double-figure games of 18, 16, and 14 points. However, the three games that followed were three straight single digit-scoring performances where he shot a combined 9-of-26 from the floor. Since that stretch, Diallo has bounced back in a big way with four consecutive games of 19+ points.

 

Over the last four games, Diallo has totaled 81 points in wins vs. UIC, Harvard, Monmouth, and Virginia Tech. After back-to-back 19-point performances vs. UIC and Harvard, the freshman guard has turned it up a notch further, posting consecutive games of 20+ points vs. Monmouth and Virginia Tech.

 

Prior to the season, few would have predicted that Diallo would be stepping into jump shots with confidence. On a day where the Wildcats knocked down 11-of-22 threes as a team, four of them came off the fingertips of Diallo, including a huge corner three to give Kentucky a five-point lead with less than a minute to play.

 

Fellow freshman Kevin Knox has been solid offensively all season but the addition of Diallo gives Kentucky a nice one-two punch on the perimeter. If he continues to shoot the ball at this clip, then Diallo made the right decision to return. With his off the charts athleticism coupled with a consistent jumper, the freshman will likely hear his named call in the lottery.

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