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Monday, May 16, 2016

Self not surprised by Diallo’s decision to stay in NBA Draft

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets in the ear of Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets in the ear of Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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After playing well, measuring well and interviewing well at last week’s NBA Combine, Kansas University freshman Cheick Diallo proclaimed to ESPN.com and CBSSports.com reporters he would be signing with an agent and keeping his name in the June 23 draft.

The 6-foot-9 Mali native’s decision to turn pro certainly did not surprise Jayhawk coach Bill Self, who has said several times in previous weeks that Diallo almost certainly had played his last game as a Jayhawk.

“Cheick entered this process not committing to sign with an agent, but the reality of it is, if things went well, he would announce this decision in which he would go, and certainly he performed very well at the Combine,” Self told the Journal-World on Sunday.

“We’re so happy and proud of him. I believe without hesitation his best play is to remain in the draft,” Self added of Diallo and his 7-foot, 41⁄2-inch wingspan that impressed NBA officials at the Combine in Chicago.

Draftexpress.com on Sunday in its first post-Combine mock draft moved Diallo from an early-second-round pick to the 25th pick of Round One. CBSsports.com has Diallo the 26th pick of the first round. NBAdraft.net has Diallo 21st overall.

Does Self think Diallo is a first-rounder?

“I think so,” Self said Sunday. “More than according to the Combine in which he performed very well, I always thought he was a first-round talent. I do think he’s very raw. At the same time, he’s gotten so much better since he arrived on campus (last summer). We were just kind of set with our rotation down the stretch (thus cutting his minutes). Those guys (KU’s bigs) played at a pretty high level.

“I do believe his best ball is down the road,” Self added. “He’s one of those guys, when you draft in the NBA, you are not drafting for one or two years, you are drafting for three or four years, possibly more than that. I do think when he grades out three years from now as the equivalent of a college senior, I think he’ll be a guy people will look at and say, ‘This guy will play in the league a dozen years if he stays healthy.’”

Diallo, who was not declared eligible for participation in games by the NCAA until the sixth game of the 2015-16 season, averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds for KU with 23 blocked shots. He logged 7.5 minutes per game in 27 contests.

“Cheick started out at a disadvantage this year,” Self said. “His attitude was always good. He always worked hard. He was very thankful for the efforts of many that worked hard to clear his eligibility.

“The reality is, he started behind. Once the season starts (and) the players head to league play, you don’t slow down. You’ve got to keep moving. He was behind. The emergence of Landen (Lucas) really put Cheick in a situation he was going to be a guy that was probably not going to play as many minutes as we all thought coming in. He still got better every day. By the end of the season, the guys on our team would tell you he was probably as improved as anybody in our gym.”

Zagsblog.com indicated that Diallo is expected to sign with an agent as soon as today. Asked what he showed at the Combine (in scoring 18 points with four blocks in one scrimmage and grabbing nine rebounds in another), Diallo told Zagsblog: “I didn’t get to show that much in college because of the NCAA thing but I showed everybody I can run the floor, block shots and protect the rim (at Combine). Even today (Friday), I missed some shots, I got some fouls, but it’s not a big deal. I know I can do better.”

Svi in 20 and Under Games: KU sophomore guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk will be heading back home to Ukraine this week, Self said. Mykhailiuk will be playing in the 20 and Under European Championships (Div. A) July 16-24 in Finland.

This, that: Self said freshmen Josh Jackson, Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot will arrive for summer school, “the weekend before the first day of class.” Classes begin on Tuesday, June 7. ... Transfer Evan Maxwell told the J-W over the weekend he’d be arriving June 6. Self cannot comment on Maxwell until papers are processed by KU’s compliance office. … Derryck Thornton, a 6-2 former Duke point guard, was on Miami’s campus for an official visit over the weekend. He has finished his campus visits, now must choose either KU, USC, Washington or Miami. He will sit next season then be eligible as a sophomore in 2017-18. If he attends Miami, he’d lose a year of eligibility because Miami is in the same league as Duke. That is not expected to be a factor in his decision as he’s considered an early-entry NBA candidate.

Comments

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

The new draft combine system seems to be working as intended.

It's a much better situation for these young men.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

Have fun riding the bench on a D-League team, Cheick. Can't believe we wasted all that money to get him eligible only to keep him parked on the bench and not use him when we really needed him against Villanova, and then have him entertain delusions of grandeur about being an NBA star.

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

Is there anything you don't hate or any subject that you have some small clue about?

John Smith 3 years, 8 months ago

It does demonstrate the weakness of this one and done system. The KU program bent over backward and spent considerable time and effort to get Diallo eligible to play and got next to nothing in return. He seems to feel no obligation to the program either. While I don't wish any player ill, I am a fan of the team, the KU program and don't particularly care how well these guys do on some NBA team I am likely never to watch. Some , Like Andrew Wiggins do contribute before they leave. Others, who never even got on the starting roster, use KU as just a stepping stone. To me that isn't in the best interest of the team. Diallo should have stayed for another year, IMO.

RJ King 3 years, 8 months ago

KU bent over backwards for Diallo because it was the right thing to do. The NCAA needed to be taken to the woodshed. Had he immediately produced it would've been an obvious return on the investment.

Instead, things are a bit more subtle. Perhaps Cheick pushed Lucas higher toward his ceiling, just in time to provide us with a couple more Big12 championships and a pretty decent run in MM.

CD has no "obligation" to the program. He was assumed OAD from the start, so no promise was broken. And as Self stated, he was a hard worker with a great attitude. Whatever duty he had to KU was fulfilled. He has thanked his coach, teammates, and fans many times.

We all used college as a stepping stone. Um . . . that's pretty much what it is for.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

"We all used college as a stepping stone. Um . . . that's pretty much what it is for."

Exactly. We all go to college in the hope that it will prepare us in our chosen fields. For many, the goal is to play professional sports and if Diallo makes it into the first round, then I think he got exactly what he wanted. It may not be what we wanted but it was entirely his decision. If he doesn't get drafted in either round, then maybe he should have stayed another year but again, his decision.

Good luck Cheick, nothing but good wishes from me.

Robert Brock 3 years, 8 months ago

There is something to knowledge, recognition, and awareness in the college game. Diallo, unlike Joel Embiid, just didn't get it. Tis pity that Cheick won't return to college and learn something about the great game. Obviously, CD isn't interested in college.

He may be a real stud in the NBA game - short shot-clock, unstructured, emphasis on physicality, not the cerebral...hello D League!

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

NBA teams have actual coaches too.... Even better, they have no pesky classes or exams to stop the development of players.

Isn't that cool?

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

I wasn't in favor of dropping the shot clock down to its current 30 seconds but do you really believe 6 seconds changes the game so dramatically as you stated?

Of course Diallo wasn't interested in college but the NCAA put in the rules that now affect the decisions these kids need to make? I don't think I've ever heard Diallo state in any way that he had any aspirations outside of playing professional basketball.

Dee Shaw 3 years, 8 months ago

Oh well, he will make more money than most of us will ever dream of. Good for him. Cheick welcome to the top 1% world.

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 8 months ago

He was at such a disadvantage here with the late start. That in combination with some very seasoned veterans in front of him with good chemistry was a recipe for little to no playing time. I hope he does very well for himself in the L!

Edward Daub 3 years, 8 months ago

1 Picture is worth 1000 Words.

There was simply No Chemistry between Self and Diallo.

Milwaukee Bucks better draft Diallo, he runs like a Deer!

Kurt Eskilson 3 years, 8 months ago

It was repeatedly reported that Diallo texted coach Self daily asking for tips and advice. I doubt that would have been happening if there was "No Chemistry" between them. And regarding the photo, you can find hundreds of shots with Self looking similarly unhappy with players we all know he loves. Diallo is moving on because it is the best thing for him – not because the KU program failed him in any way.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 8 months ago

You seem to be jumping to a mighty big conclusion, Edward. Not sure what hard evidence you have to support your statement. Of course, if you are right, then I just give that much more credit to Coach Self for being such a class act in how he addressed the matter in this article.

Eliott, Dee, and Jay have summed it up rather nicely.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 8 months ago

The evidence is that the kid is going to be first-rounder but could never get off the bench. That's about as "hard" as evidence gets in collegiate sports.

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

It isn't evidence of anything. Many factors played into Diallo s lack of playing time. Was the fact that Labissiere couldn't consistently crack a mediocre Kentucky lineup all about chemistry? He projects to be drafted higher.

Do you actually watch basketball?

Pius Waldman 3 years, 8 months ago

Many question the pine sitting at KU for Diallo and now a strong candidate for 1st round. Some question how some maybe like Traylor played and now nowhere close to even being drafted. Well the past is history so wish them all the best. Salaries of pro rookies beyond what most make in their lifetime.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 8 months ago

What did the NCAA cost Chieck in preliminary, World University, exhibition and reg season games....20 or so?? That;s a lot of playing time that could have made a difference in the course of his season.

It's over...wish him well and let's focus on next season.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 8 months ago

Cheick didn't play in the WUG because he isn't American. The NCAA had nothing to do with Diallo not playing in those 11 games (2 exhibition, 9 in the WUG).

Robert Brock 3 years, 8 months ago

Why should Self have played someone who clearly did not comprehend the offense or the defense? Diallo wasn't catching on and the others - like Jamari Traylor - understood the sets, the strategies, and basic positioning. Diallo was clueless and it showed. Self plays to win; Diallo might have cost the Hawks some close games. Self wasn't going to shortchange the others and play someone who was not ready.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

If he wasn't ready for the college game, he sure as all hell has no shot of making a difference for an NBA franchise.

Mike Greer 3 years, 8 months ago

I don't typically watch the NBA, just not my game, but I'm a big college ball fan and there is such a huge difference in how the game is played, at least from my perspective, anything is possible. Diallo was clearly lost in the KU "system" on both offence and defense, but was outstanding in the "open field" game. NBA ball is a lot more freelancing than college ball, they have a much shorter shot clock, so you don't get the passing and setting up shots like you get in NCAA ball. The NBA players run, pass, maybe twice, and then either shoot or head for the hoop. Not much more than individual talent (again, just from my point of view). Something Diallo has a fair amount of. He likely will spend some time in the D-league, but he could be a much better NBA player than he was a college player.

Steve Macy 3 years, 8 months ago

From my cell, can't figure out how to reply directly, but Tony I don't think Cheick was eligible to play for KU/USA in the games. Smart phones only as smart as the user.

Jay Reynolds 3 years, 8 months ago

"The 6-foot-9 Mali native’s..."

blah blah blah...

He's 6' 7.5" as measured by the NBA. LOL. Couldn't find room in this article to mention his real height???

Ron Sterling 3 years, 8 months ago

Relevant when they start playing basketball barefooted.

RJ King 3 years, 8 months ago

his wingspan more than makes up for it.

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 8 months ago

thats true jay......i saw that as well....at 6 7 ....Self had him at the 5 which was a struggle for him.....given we had an unproven Lucas and Mickleson , I guess Self rolled the dice hoping he would pan out ....

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 8 months ago

as far as diallo going to the d-league lets hope he doesnt ...Kansas doesnt want to be known as the school that turns a Mcdonalds All American in to spares ......which coincidentally other top notch recruits may notice as well

Gary Bedore 3 years, 8 months ago

He's 6-9 in shoes which is what EVERYBODY goes by. LOL back at ya.

Ron Sterling 3 years, 8 months ago

Really. Someone should let Steve Kerr know he's been mishandling Draymond Greene.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 8 months ago

Diallo has the second longest wingspan and the 6th highest standing reach (1" from being the 3rd highest) from among the 70 players at the combine. Also the 6th highest "no step vertical reach"

So if he physically matches better as a PF, he still has the range (combination of length and athleticism) of an NBA center. That is to say that with his length, wingspan, and vertical reach he plays in as much space offensively and defensively that most non-centers can't play in.

He can catch a post entry pass far away from his body and his defender. He can catch a lob pass high above the rim, and he can defend an area that is very wide and very high with his length and athleticism. His vertical was just OK, but combined with his length he has excellent range.

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

Is getting a new Toyota Yerass a good thing? Who writes this spam?

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 8 months ago

Nice link, Jay. Can't argue with the writer's logic, so I guess I'll keep my fingers crossed. Sure would prove a lot of people wrong if he chooses KU.

Pius Waldman 3 years, 8 months ago

Has anyone heard if Self will attend the NBA draft and cheer his players when they get selected?

Rob Byrd 3 years, 8 months ago

Focus in on Self, he's not even looking at Diallo, but down the court. We have NO IDEA, what or who, is drawing his attention.

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