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Hamidou Diallo only expected to practice with Kentucky this year

Team Drive''s Hamidou Diallo #3 in action against Team Clutch in the Under Armour Elite 24 game on Saturday, August 20, 2016 in Brooklyn, NY. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

The University of Kentucky officially announced Wednesday that five-star guard prospect Hamidou Diallo has enrolled at the school and will practice with the team starting immediately.

Diallo, a 6’5″ shooting guard known for his athleticism, committed to the Wildcats Saturday over UConn, Arizona, Indiana, Syracuse and Kansas. UK and UConn were considered to be the front runners to land Diallo, who was attending Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut.

Although Diallo is eligible to play for Kentucky immediately, he is only expected to practice with the team until next season. Head coach John Calipari said this will give Diallo a unique opportunity to step into a leadership role next fall.

“What excited me was that Hamidou wanted more than anything else to train with our guys and to practice and wasn’t worried about playing in games this year,”Calipari said in a statement. “It gives him an unbelievable head start on next year, and as I told him, he’s being put in a position to lead next season because he’s going to have a head start on everyone else.”

While Diallo has already stepped foot on UK’s campus, he’ll still count toward Calipari’s 2017 recruiting class, which is expected to once again rank as the top class nationwide. Diallo, who is widely seen as a lottery pick in next year’s NBA Draft, is also eligible to leave Kentucky after the season and declare without playing a single game for the Wildcats.

Kentucky is currently ranked sixth in the country, sitting at 14-2 overall. Fans will get their first glimpse of Diallo, if only on the bench, Jan. 14 when the Wildcats take on Auburn at Rupp Arena.

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