Cheick Diallo came to Kansas as a consensus top-10 recruit, choosing KU out of a top five that included Pitt, Kentucky, St. John's, and Iowa State. Diallo showed up in Lawrence with a reputation as a long, athletic player with a high motor, and despite not seeing the floor as much as he would have liked, he did showcase his energy in each appearance for the Jayhawks.
Per game, freshman year:
Per-40 minutes, freshman year (Sports-Reference.com):
What They're Saying
Diallo was caught in a tough situation this year, as there are very few college basketball programs like Kansas who had the resources to fight the NCAA and not give in to their spiteful vengeance. At the same time, it's easy to understand how he could get lost in such a crowded and experienced frontcourt like the Jayhawks had. To Diallo's credit, he never allowed himself to become a distraction and always appeared to be a positive presence on the bench cheering for his teammates. That's a good sign considering he's unlikely to play a huge role early on in his NBA career either, as he still needs quite a bit of development to reach his full potential.
Cheick Diallo is an upside pick at this point in his development. With the ball in his hands, he's very far away from being a factor outside of dunking and playing very close to the rim right now. It'd be best if Diallo can learn to stick to simplicity until he can further hone his game on that end. On the other hand, defensively and collecting misses he shows considerable potential. His calling card at the next level will probably by weak side shot blocking, defensive rebounding, and hustle. There's still plenty to like despite an underwhelming freshman season at Kansas, and all in all Cheick handled it with maturity many teenagers wouldn't.
|18 - DET
|21 - ATL
|29 - SA
Despite Diallo's lack of production in his only season at KU, NBA teams love his length, energy, and athleticism. KU's crowded and experienced frontcourt had a lot to do with keeping Diallo on the bench for much of the season, and once you compound that with the eligibility issue with the NCAA that kept him out of the first five games of the year, it's even more understandable.
Following Diallo's showing at the combine and pre-draft workouts that included Atlanta, Indiana, New York, and Philadelphia, among others, it would be a surprise to see Diallo fall out of the first round. I'd prefer for him to go somewhere like San Antonio, where he could work and develop in a system for a year or two to hone his skills. But at this point, I will predict Diallo to go #21 overall to the Atlanta Hawks.