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Hamidou Diallo Making Case For NBA Draft

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Hamidou Diallo is one of the biggest surprises coming out of last week’s NBA Draft Combine. Hands down. The 18-year old guard prospect, who stands 6’5” with a 6’10” wingspan, put his athletic abilities on display, but it was more of his journey to the moment that had people buzzing.

A 5-star recruit coming out of Putnam Science Academy in Putnam, Connecticut, Diallo was the No.1 ranked shooting guard and a top-ten overall prospect in the Class of 2017.  He had offers from Arizona, Syracuse, and Connecticut, but eventually chose the Kentucky Wildcats, making him the fifth 5-star signee in John Calipari’s 2017 recruiting class.

The part that makes Hamidou’s recruiting story unique is that he actually graduated from Putnam in the spring of 2016, but decided to spend an additional year at the Academy, a move that brought an extra season of high school basketball, and reclassification as a 2017 recruit.  This “post-graduate” strategy is gaining popularity as more high-school prospects look for ways to land scholarships at top tier programs.

Even deeper for Diallo, thanks to the NBA “one and done” rule, which says a prospect must be one year removed from high school and 19 years old, he became eligible for the 2017 NBA draft.

When the decision to play a post-graduate year was made, many believed that Hamidou would head straight to the NBA. But those speculations ended quickly when he enrolled at the University of Kentucky in early January, halfway through his extra season at Putnam.  After arriving in Lexington, he joined the Wildcats with plans of only practicing with the team, but not playing in any games. Sticking to the plan, when the season ended in March, Diallo had not played in a single college game, but by April he had already declared for the draft.

So the road to this point has been nothing of the normal type, considering Diallo split a single school semester between being a prep school basketball star and redshirted Division-1 athlete. But despite the untraditional route, his NBA draft stock remains solid as sources have projected him as a first or second round pick. During the combine, Diallo pulled out a jaw-dropping 44 and ½ inch vertical jump, which is the second highest jump in combine history.

However, with a strong performance in the skills drills and measurements portions of the combine workout, questions remain on how well Hamdiou’s game will translate to the NBA, especially considering he has not played in an organized game in over six months. And it is reported that chose against participating in the combine’s 5-on-5 competitions, making it tougher to evaluate him at this point.

By the time the July draft rolls around, Hamidou Diallo will have had opportunities to strengthen his case as a pick in the 2017 NBA draft, but more than that, the backstory makes it obvious why he’s definitely one to watch.

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NBA

Eagles’ Jalen Mills Arrested

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Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested in Washington D.C following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, according to the Associated Press’ Howard Fendrich (via the Washington Post).

Both men were charged with disorderly affray, which is described as fighting in a public place.

According to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, a verbal altercation broke out between the two that escalated into a physical fight that took place on the sidewalk.

Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight with Mills and upon his release he was taken to to department’s 2nd District station where Mills was detained.

Mills and Robinson were “involved in a verbal altercation which escalated into a physical altercation on the sidewalk adjacent to the Opera Night Club” in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the police report.

Both teams have since responded, with the Wizards essentially parting ways with Robinson due to the incident.

“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season,” the Wizards said in a statement.

The Eagles issued a statement saying that they are “aware of the situation” and “continuing to gather more information.”

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Dallas Mavericks

Mavs’ Kristaps Porzingis Accused of Rape in New York

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Dallas Mavericks big man and former New York Knick Kristaps Porzingis is being investigated back New York for an alleged rape that a woman told police took place sometime last year, according to the New York Post.

The woman, who informed police about the alleged rape on Thursday, says that she waited more than a year to come forward regarding the incident because she had discussed receiving $68,000 from Porzingis to keep quiet.

Roland G. Riopelle, the attorney for Porzingis, has since denied the allegations and has said they had previously referred the case to federal authorities due to the “accuser’s extortionate demands.”

“We are aware of the complaint that was made against Mr. Porzingis on Friday and unequivocally deny the allegations,” Riopelle said. “We made a formal referral to federal law enforcement on Dec. 20, 2018, based on the accuser’s extortionate demands. We also alerted the National Basketball Association months ago, and they are aware of the ongoing investigation of the accuser by federal law enforcement. We cannot comment further on an ongoing federal investigation. Please refer any questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the National Basketball Association.”

The woman alleges that the incident took place on February 7th, 2018, at the Sky building in New York, where Porzingis lived, just hours following Porzingis suffering a torn ACL, the injury that has kept him off the court for more than a year.

An NBA spokesman said the league is aware of the situation while the Knicks’ team spokesperson said; “This is Kristaps’ personal matter and not related to the Knicks.” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated that the team is aware of the situation but “we have been instructed by federal authorities not to comment.”

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks had informed the Mavericks of the pending Porzingis rape allegations during a trade call with NBA headquarters, that took place on January 31st,  that finalized the deal that sent Porzingis to the Mavericks.

A spokesman for the New York Police Department issued the following: “The NYPD takes sexual assault and all rape cases extremely seriously, and urges anyone who has been a victim to file a report so we can perform a comprehensive investigation, and offer support and services to survivors.”

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Golden State Warriors

Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins Says Fans Have Called Him ‘N—-r’, Says He’s Reported it to League

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Golden State Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins is speaking out about how NBA fans treat players, revealing that fans have called him the N-word during games and stating that he had reported the incidents to the league.

Cousins discussed the incidents during an interview with Chris Haynes on the ‘Posted Up’ podcast:

“Oh, I’ve been called n—-r, and it’s crazy because this has happened to me on a few occasions. I reported it to the league, and, you know, I may have said whatever I said back, and I was still punished for it. But obviously it became a bigger issue when it was Russ [Westbrook] and he was still fined for it. I don’t really understand it. We’re the product. We push this league. So, I don’t understand. When does our safety, when does, it become important?”

While Cousins spoke candidly about his experiences, he did not specific which cities in which he heard the racial slurs.

“I don’t really want to, because I’m not really trying to put a label on an entire fan base” Cousins said when discussing which cities he heard the slurs. T”here are ignorant individuals in every city. I’ll just put it like that. [NBA] tells you to ignore it, or whatever the case may be. But how many times am I supposed to ignore that? Me coming from where I come from [Mobile, Alabama]. They lucky all they got was a response.”

While Cousins did not mention any cities or teams, Haynes reported that one city was Sacramento, where Cousins spent the majority of his career playing for the Kings.

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