By: Larry Vaught
Hamidou Diallo has not played for Kentucky since joining John Calipari’s team in January and the plan remains for him not to play until next season. However, he’s noticed all the attention UK players get.
“It just shows you that the stage that we’re on is a different type of stage. Night in and night out you just got to be the best version of yourself,” he said.
He’s not been surprised by picture and autograph requests from fans.
“I’ve seen it. New York is pretty much – it’s not the same, but it’s pretty much the same. I mean, people have fans everywhere. We’re just blessed to have the fans that we have,” he said.
He admits he’s been asked more times than he could count about whether he would play this year or not.
“I just tell them ‘I don’t know at this point,’ because me telling them the whole story would take a lot of time I’d say,” Diallo said.
Kentucky fans can get a first-hand look at future Wildcat P.J. Washington Friday and Saturday nights when he plays in the Kentucky Lake Showcase at Marshall County with his Findlay Prep (Nevada) teammates.
“He has a 7-2 wingspan and is really a tough kid. He goes after those loose balls and once he gets it, you do not take it out of his hands,” said his father, Paul Washington, who is also the Findlay Prep head coach. “A lot of that is from coming up in Texas playing football. He loves the contact and UK fans will see that next year.”
The 6-8 Washington could potentially play a variety of positions. His father says they do not label him at any position and noted what he could have done against Josh Jackson of Kansas when UK played the Jayhawks in late January.
“A kid like Josh Jackson could really not get by him and physically he could not rebound over P.J. As a coach, it’s good to have a player like that on your team,” Paul Washington said. “Put a taller kid on him and he goes by them. He leads our team in assists. He has really good court vision and instincts with the ball.”
Paul Washington likes the preparation work that Calipari does with players.
“He does stuff I do not see anywhere else in the country. What he has done at Kentucky bringing those kids in and making them playing his way has been incredible. That’s not easy to teach,” Paul Washington said.
Findlay Prep guard Justin Roberts is headed to DePaul. Paul Washington says that senior Donnie Tillman, a 6-8 forward, and Reggie Chaney, a 6-8 junior, are both solid players and 6-6 forward Lamine Diane is as well.
All five starters average in double figures with P.J. Washington at 19.7 points per game and Diane at 15.8 leading the way.
Then there is 6-7 sophomore Spencer Washington, P.J. Washington’s younger brother. He’s 6-7 and has been sidelined for about two months with a broken hand but Paul Washington hopes he can play this weekend.
“They are all very unselfish and play well together. I think we are a fun team to watch,” the coach said.