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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Pundits mixed on Diallo’s draft outlook

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) gets up to reject a shot during the second half, Thursday, March 17, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) gets up to reject a shot during the second half, Thursday, March 17, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Those individuals who release NBA mock drafts in anticipation of Thursday's two-round, 60-pick extravaganza in New York certainly do not compare notes when prognosticating.

Proof of that is the difference of opinion regarding 19-year-old former Kansas University forward Cheick Diallo.

Draftexpress.com has the most optimistic opinion of the draft status of Diallo, indicating the 6-foot-9 Mali native will flirt with the lucrative lottery before ultimately being tapped No. 18 by the Detroit Pistons.

The most pessimistic view comes from CBSsports.com's Gary Parrish, who says Diallo will be taken by San Antonio at No. 29.

"Diallo measured and tested well at the NBA Combine, then played well in the five-on-five games. He was active. He rebounded. He guarded. Simply put, he genuinely helped himself by reminding scouts why he was once a projected lottery pick," Parrish writes. "And now it looks like that subpar season at Kansas won't cost Diallo too much money. He'd be a great fit with San Antonio, which needs an athletic big."

Meanwhile, the lack of consensus continues with NBAdraft.net indicating Diallo will be the No. 21 pick of the Atlanta Hawks; ESPN's Chad Ford predicting Boston will take him at No. 23; Bleacher Report opting for the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 25; and CBS' Sam Vecenie going with Philadelphia at No. 26.

"It would seem the Sixers are going to trade at least one of Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel. Regardless, Diallo makes sense to draft here, as the center is a high-upside player as a rim-runner in transition, offensive rebounder, and potentially highly versatile defender due to his athleticism," Vecenie writes. "He'd be a nice option to pair with Ben Simmons in the frontcourt."

Doug Gottlieb of CBSsports.com believes Diallo is the 27th-best prospect in the draft, meaning he'd be the pick of the Toronto Raptors in that slot.

The Indianapolis Star lists Diallo as a strong possibility at No. 20 for the Pacers. Diallo worked out for Indy on Friday with North Carolina's Brice Johnson.

“People don’t really know me,” Diallo told the Indy Star on Friday. "People don’t know what I’m able to do. I know who I am and I know what I’m able to do. I know nothing is easy in life, so you’ve got to keep fighting.”

His development in his one and done season at KU was slowed by a five-game NCAA suspension, Diallo taking the court for the first time in a game in December.

"I was so depressed in the beginning,” Diallo told the Indy paper. “By the time I played my first game, I was behind everybody and people kept questioning me on why I was not playing. It’s not my fault or the coach (Bill Self’s) fault. I was just behind and there was nothing I could do.”

Just one mock draft currently has Diallo falling to the second round. That's the Los Angeles Times.

"A lot of people think I can’t play. I have to show everybody they're wrong,” Diallo told the New York Post. He averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 boards in 7.5 minutes a game last season at KU after playing high school ball at Our Savior New American in Long Island, N.Y.

Diallo is on target to become the first player from Mali ever to be taken in the first round. The New York Post reports that Mali's Soumaila Samake and Ousmane Cisse were second-rounders in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

Housseini Amion Guindo, the Mali ministry of youth and sports, has phoned Diallo in support, as has Mali Basketball Federation president Jean-Claude Sidibe, the Post reported.

"It's a very big deal," Diallo's mentor, Tidiane Drame, told the Post. "The whole country is following him now."

"Everybody is counting on me," Diallo said. "A lot of things happened to me. I have a better life now. I have a lot of opportunities. I can't even wait (for draft). I'm so excited."

Comments

Tony Bandle 3 years, 9 months ago

Virtually every pick has him in the second half of the first round. That looks pretty consistent to me. Picked by the Spurs would be great for Cheick. His coach could eventually be one Bill Self!!

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

A range of about 10 slots in the first round.

Much more consensus than the Chicken Littles who saw him as a second rounder or undrafted....

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