The high school class of 2016 has been viewed as a mini renaissance for New York City basketball, with highly regarded prospects such as Rawle Alkins, Mustapha Heron and Shamorie Ponds reclaiming some of the excitement that has been vacant from the local scene in recent years. With all three of these players heading to college in a year, the question on people's minds now is who's next?
The answer: a 6'4 elite guard from Queens named Hamidou Diallo (2017).
Diallo, who has been overshadowed by the outstanding play of fellow New Yorker Rawle Alkins, has quietly established as one of the best players in the country. The Queens native began his high school career in obscurity playing for local John Bowne High School - not recognized as a basketball powerhouse.
However, after leading the varsity basketball team in scoring as a sophomore, Diallo finally began receiving the attention he deserved. After his sophomore season, he took his talents to Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut guiding them to the National Prep Championship Tournament. This summer Diallo starred for the New York Jayhawks AAU team and surged to 11th on ESPN's top 100 prospect list.
"I really worked on becoming a leader this summer and just picking up my teammates," Diallo told the Rumble.
When watching Diallo, it isn't difficult to understand why this budding star is blowing away scouts. Diallo possesses surreal athleticism and is the last player teams want to defend against in transition. On defense his athletic ability coupled with a 6'10 wingspan gives him the ability to lock down a team's best scorer.
There are still undeveloped areas in Diallo's game such as strength, shooting, and ball handling, but at 17 he is still has time to expand his game.
While only a junior, schools have been aggressively chasing after this electrifying guard. St. John's, which has been chided in the past for not recruiting locally, has already made their pitch to the local product.
Diallo visited St. John's in June and came away impressed with Chris Mullin's vision for the program.
"He is a great coach," said Diallo. "He was in the NBA and that's where I am trying to get so that is what a lot of coaches preach that they can get me to the NBA ".
Despite making a positive impression on Diallo, St. John's will still have a challenging time earning his commitment. Syracuse, Kansas, NC State, Providence, UConn, and even Kentucky have all made their interest known.
When it comes to choosing a program, Diallo knows exactly what he is looking for. "I'll go to the school that I'm going to have the biggest impact at as a freshman," Diallo said.
At the moment, Diallo has no official visits planned and appears more focused on his upcoming high school season. The guard will return to Putnam Science Academy, which was almost shut down due to funding concerns. Diablo - alongside UConn commit Mamadou Diarra will look to contend for a title.
"I am looking to have a great high school season and win a national championship," Diallo said. With this dynamic duo in place, Putnam Science Academy will certainly be a threat this season.