Big Blue Notes: Hamidou Diallo’s leap and amazing reach could be his NBA ticket

Eric Howard is a Calvert City native who lives in Lexington and is a committed UK Wildcat fan. His column 'Big Blue Notes' appears regularly in The Lake News.

Eric Howard is a Calvert City native who lives in Lexington and is a committed UK Wildcat fan. His column ‘Big Blue Notes’ appears regularly in The Lake News.

Diallo impresses at NBA Draft Combine
Hamidou Diallo created a buzz among the media and scouts at last week’s NBA draft combine. Kentucky’s none-and-done prospect did not participate in the scrimmages, but took part in the measurement and interview portions of the combine. Diallo was already considered one of the best athletes in the draft class, but his outlandish wingspan and record-breaking vertical leap may have sealed the deal as a first round pick.

The NBA combine staff had to bring out additional equipment after Diallo’s first jump on the vertical leap test cleared the measurable area. The New York native maxed out with a 44.5” jump which registered as the second highest vertical leap in draft combine history. If Diallo opts to stay in the draft, he will enter his rookie season as one the top five leapers in NBA history. Standing at 6-foot-5, Diallo’s 6.11” wingspan was easily the longest of any guard at the combine.

Whether or not Diallo opts to stay in the draft or return to Lexington remains to be seen, however, his performance this past week likely cemented a spot in the first round if he so choses. Diallo’s decision now comes down to whether he wants to be a late first round pick this year or risk injury to move into the lottery portion of the draft next year.

Cats score perfect on APR
For the third consecutive year, John Calipari’s Wildcats posted a perfect APR score with the NCAA. The Academic Progress Rate system was developed by the NCAA to measure academics in the age of one-and-done players. The main criterion used to score universities is whether or not the student athletes completed the semester before embarking on their professional careers.

The UK men’s basketball program posted a score of 1,000 while the NCAA average was 964. Teams scoring below 930 are subject to postseason bans. John Calipari received a $50,000 bonus for the team’s four-year composite score. In Calipari’s latest contract extension, the APR incentive was one for the few bonuses included by Athletics Director

Mitch Barnhart.
The APR has always been taken very seriously by the Wildcats’ head coach during his tenure at Kentucky, and something very positive for which Calipari is rarely recognized. In his eight years at Kentucky, the Wildcats have graduated 17 players along with the many that have left early for the NBA. Kentucky also offers all basketball players lifetime scholarships so they may return to finish their degrees after their professional careers are over.

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