For Cheick Diallo, it’s one and done . . . maybe.
The former Our Savior New American star, who played his freshman year at Kansas, Monday declared for the NBA Draft, according to multiple media reports. However, because he has not hired an agent, the reports said, he can attend the NBA Draft combine in Chicago on May 11-15 and still return to Kansas. The deadline to withdraw from the June 23 draft is May 25.
Diallo, an athletic 6-9 forward who is a native of Mali, was a top 10 national recruit after his senior year at OSNA in Centereach, when he earned Newsday first-team All-Long Island honors.
He served a five-game NCAA suspension for an eligibility issue at the start of the season and in his first game, scored 13 points with six rebounds. However, he never approached those numbers again and did not find a role in coach Bill Self’s rotation. Diallo averaged 3.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 7.5 minutes in 27 games and played in just one of the Jayhawks’ NCAA Tournament games. Kansas fell to Villanova in the Elite Eight on Saturday.
Some media reports have projected that Diallo, 19, could be a second-round draft pick, which means he would not have a guaranteed contract. However, because of his size and athleticism, his stock could rise with a good showing at the combine.
Mike and Cathy Fortunato of Coram, Diallo’s host family while he was at OSNA, have been in touch with Diallo throughout his first year at Kansas, but declined to comment to Newsday on Monday night.
His high school coach at OSNA, Ron Stelzer, told Newsday: “It’s his decision and I didn’t have any part in it. As far as the pros, I don’t think it will be an easy transition for him, but at least he has a chance to back track on it.”