Kansas freshman Cheick Diallo will declare for the 2016 NBA draft, league sources told The Vertical.
NBA front-office executives believe Diallo has a chance to be selected in the first round, but the opportunity to be selected in his preseason-projected lottery slot would come from excelling in the NBA draft combine and team workouts. Diallo informed Kansas coach Bill Self on Monday of his decision to leave school, and he’ll make a decision on his professional representation after the combine, sources said.
Diallo – an athletic and active 6-foot-9 forward – averaged three points, 2.5 rebounds, .9 blocks and 7.5 minutes in 27 games for the Jayhawks. In Kansas’ tournament-opening win over Austin Peay, Diallo had nine points, four rebounds and one block in nine minutes. Kansas was eliminated in the Elite Eight on Saturday against Villanova.
Diallo, 19, joined Kansas as a five-star recruit. In 2015, he was named MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game and co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic with Arizona’s Allonzo Trier.
Diallo’s eligibility battle with the NCAA slowed his learning curve early in the season, and Self elected to reduce Diallo’s role as the year wore on.
Jonathan Givony, the Vertical’s draft insider, has Diallo ranked as the No. 14 freshman in the 2016 NBA draft class. Diallo attended middle school in Mali before transferring to Our Savior New American in Centereach, N.Y., as a ninth grader.