PROVIDENCE – If you’re Alpha Diallo, why not take full advantage of the NBA’s “test the waters” protocol and do it while holding on to your remaining eligibility at Providence College?
One way to spin Tuesday’s news concerning Diallo is that he has nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain. If an NBA executive/front office type tells the junior forward that he’s not pro material right now and specifically points to why that’s the case, perhaps that will provide him with a firm purpose of how to spend the offseason.
Diallo will have the option of returning for his senior season if he withdraws his name from the NBA Draft by Wednesday, May 29. Under the new NCAA rules, a player can enter into an agreement with a NCAA certified agent and still maintain his eligibility.
“I am declaring for the NBA Draft,” Diallo said in a statement released by the school. “I am excited to go through the workout process. I will be staying in school this spring and finishing my junior year. I believe this process will help me grow as a player. I enjoy being at Providence College and playing for the Friars. The Friars have a strong group of players returning next season and I believe the team could compete for the conference championship.”
Realistically, the odds of Diallo hearing his name called at June’s NBA Draft are slim. You won’t find his name appearing in any of the number of mock drafts available for dissection and perusal.
“We support Alpha and as he goes through this process,” PC head coach Ed Cooley said. “This process will enable him to gain knowledge and experience about the potential for his future in professional basketball. Alpha has always had a goal of playing basketball at the highest level and this is one of the steps towards his goal.”
Diallo was coming off his freshman season in 2017 when Rodney Bullock chose to enter the NBA Draft but also kept the light on for possibly returning to PC. Ultimately, Bullock returned to the Friars and helped guide the program to a fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Diallo is coming off a season where he was named to the Big East’s second team. He led the Friars in scoring (16 points per game) and rebounding (8.1, which was also good for second in the Big East). His overall shooting percentage and free-throw percentage dipped between his sophomore and junior seasons, while his three-point shooting went up over during the same span.
The NBA/NCAA rule that was tailor-made for college underclassmen who wish to get feedback allows prospects like Diallo to go on one 48-hour tryout per NBA team. Of course, they must first receive an invitation. The inviting NBA franchise, not the college, pays for everything.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03