Saturday, June 25, 2016

Something to prove: Diallo driven by fall to 2nd round

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) celebrates a Loyola turnover during the second half, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) celebrates a Loyola turnover during the second half, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield and Kansas University’s Cheick Diallo, the first- and second-round picks of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, addressed the media together on Friday in New Orleans and faced questions about … last season’s triple-overtime battle between the Sooners and Jayhawks. What else?

“It was fun, up-and-down, tired, fatiguing. All the guys were fighting heartfelt for the team trying to get the win,” said Hield, who scored 46 points in OU’s 109-106 loss to Diallo’s KU team on Jan. 5 in Allen Fieldhouse.

Diallo’s take on the game generated laughter from media members.

“I mean, I was on the bench,” Diallo said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that No. 24 (Hield) is good.’ I was like, ‘Wow, he can shoot it. Somebody needs to stop him.’ He was getting buckets everywhere. I was like, ‘Wow.’”

Diallo had no points and one rebound while playing just five minutes in the instant classic.

“I tell him he’s still a Jayhawk at heart. Thank God he’s my teammate now,” Hield said of Diallo.

Diallo, who attended Thursday night’s draft proceedings in Brooklyn, said Friday he was a bit worn out emotionally by the time he was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers with the third pick of Round Two. L.A. promptly dealt the 6-foot-9 Mali native to New Orleans for a pair of second-round picks who turned into David Michineau and Diamond Stone.

“My name got called, I was like, ‘Wow, I’m going to the Clippers.’ After some people kept texting me, ‘Oh, Cheick, you are going to New Orleans,’ I was like, ‘OK. I’m not going to say I’m not going there. They traded two people to get me. I want to do anything to make them look good, too.’ I’m going to work hard every day, go 100 percent every workout. I don’t want to take a day off. They gave up something for me. I have to give something back.”

Diallo, 19, who averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 7.5 minutes a game during his one-and-done season at KU, on Thursday night told he was not pleased about the first-round snub.

“I feel not respected being picked 33,” he said. “I was mad a little bit, but I don’t want to get mad because I didn’t get in the first round. I just want to keep moving forward. I just want to keep fighting and prove everybody wrong. There is nothing I can do, so I just have to take it. You can’t (worry about) things you can’t control. I think New Orleans is the best fit for me. Going to New Orleans is a new start.”

The Pelicans were willing to give up two picks to make sure they could land Diallo, which just about guarantees his landing a guaranteed contract with the team.

“We really targeted this guy,” Pelicans GM Dell Demps told “We were surprised he was there. We didn’t want to take the chance (of missing out on him). We had him rated higher (than a 33rd pick). He’s a young player who is inexperienced. There is going to be a growing curve. But one thing I can assure you is you’ll never see a lack of effort there. His motor is amazing.”

KU coach Bill Self had said before the draft NBA teams were definitely intrigued by the big man’s motor.

“I’m an energy guy. I box out, rebound the ball and protect the rim,” Diallo told “That’s what I do. I just want to do everything to make my team look good. I just want to run the floor, block shots and get rebounds.”

Faraway scouting: KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend is in Zaragoza, Spain, watching the FIBA Under 17 World Championships. According to, coaches from UCLA, Oregon, North Carolina State and St. John’s are also in Spain, taking advantage of a new rule that allows college coaches to recruit at any FIBA world championship event. KU still has two scholarships available in recruiting the Class of 2016, though it is believed most coaches are recruiting players in the Class of ’17.


Brett McCabe 5 years, 6 months ago

On the OAD front, read up on Auston Matthews, the just-named number one draft pick in the NHL. H wasn't age-eligible for the draft last year, so he went international, got paid and was selected first by the Leafs.

I don't understand why more U.S. basketball players don't do the exact same thing.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 6 months ago

It was reported yesterday that the NBA is in talks about lowering the age back to 18 . So here we go again . There will be a lot of disappointed kids coming out of high schools thinking they are NBA ready. You have a Kobe or a Lebron every now and again but if they aren't drafted then college will be better option so you know where you stand in regards to your pro potential by note getting selected out if high school.You will still have the OAD players but the college experience can only help them

Glen Miller 5 years, 6 months ago

Honestly, as a college basketball fan. I'd rather have that then what we've got. At least that way, those one and done players will mostly be none and done. I think it will help the college game not be a one year dog and pony show as much. You'll still have kids leaving early, but the really elite ones will already be gone.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 6 months ago

Maybe they could say OK try for the NBA but if you don't get drafted you must wait two years to re-declare. Of course this suggestion is too logical and makes too much sense, so it doesn't have a chance.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 6 months ago

But the you have the argument that you are denying the kid the right to declare after his freshman year. Remember you are only ineligible to play college if you hire an agent. Lets say you enter don't get drafted have a freshman season that would make you a possible lottery pick only to say no you have to stay 1 more year will get a lot of push back . Also if the kid knows he will get in the league whose to say he wont go overseas to play that one year because he knows his draft stock is high. So that's something to think about Tony Perfect example........Joel Embiid thought to be a project out of high school, lets say enter put his name in his senior year .....he wouldn't have gotten drafted....he came to KU blossomed ended up being lottery pick so it does happen .Another thing you have to consider is you are denying a team the right to draft him based on their draft order and a player they really want but they cant because of the 2 year re-entry . The NBA team and player are both shortchanged

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 6 months ago

The fact Diallo was drafted given his limited playing time was able to save face of all the scouts and GM s who said he was draftable given all the hype he was given . So obviously his season a KU wasn't factored in the decision to draft him . Diallo expressed disappointment in falling to 33 but he got drafted ......Diallo should ask Perry or Wayne how they felt I'm sure they would have gladly traded places with you .

Brianna Zaleski 5 years, 6 months ago

Hard not to smile when hearing Diallo talk. Not only is he heartfelt and sincere, but his accent and way w words is entertaining. I think he missed out on millions of dollars by not waiting another year, but I also believe he will be a stud someday. His time is coming and whom ever has him at that time, will have a gem on their hands. Good luck Chieck!

Philip Bowman 5 years, 6 months ago

One thing he will never prove is whether he could compete in the NCAA. He surely proved nothing for KU. Diallo was simply taking up space on the bench; a waste of space and money and denial of an opportunity for a real student.

Why does Self continue to hire these OADs? We need players that want to be in school at KU, not one who have only the NBA as a goal. Those kind of players will be team players and create a truly competitive team, might even win the NCAA tourney again.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 6 months ago

Lebron James never proved whether or not he could play in the NCAA either....

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