One thing was apparent watching University of Kentucky power forward Bam Adebayo this past college basketball season.
He can definitely run and jump at an NBA level.
A walking highlight reel, Adebayo lived at the rim with more than 100 dunks in 38 games for the Wildcats, who saw their season end in the Elite Eight round to eventual national champion North Carolina.
But Adebayo is adamant he is more than just a dunker, the Detroit Free Press reported.
He said he can shoot the ball — a useful skill for the prospect to display for the NBA Draft on June 22.
“Most people think I can’t shoot, but when I get in these workouts, it surprises them,” Adebayo told reporters Tuesday after working out for the Detroit Pistons.
“They know I can play defense. They know I can jump, they know I’m athletic. It’s just proving I can shoot,” he told the Free Press. “It’s shocking everybody because after every workout, people say: ‘I didn’t know you could shoot like that.’ I never got a chance to because I played my role at Kentucky.”
Adebayo, who said he’s comfortable out to the college three-point line, was one of six players to work out for the Pistons, who hold the 12th overall pick.
One of Adebayo’s teammates at Kentucky, combo guard Isaiah Briscoe, also took part in Tuesday’s workout with the Detroit Pistons. Others included North Carolina swingman Justin Jackson, California power forward Ivan Rabb, Syracuse shooting guard Andrew White and Indiana shooting guard James Blackmon.
Jackson and Adebayo are considered strong first-round possibilities. Rabb, who didn’t work out because of an injury suffered during a workout with a previous team. is projected to go late first or early second.
The others face the prospect of being undrafted and going the rookie free agent route.
But that won’t be the case for Adebayo, 19, a product of the Kentucky machine.
“Everybody develops differently,” he told Pistons.com. “Some guys need that second year and that second year could be their superstar year. Some dudes do good enough their first year where they can leave. I just arrived thinking I’m going to get the best out of it, so I got the best out of it and I left.”
The Pistons don’t have an obvious opening in the frontcourt on the roster, but aside from center Andre Drummond, explosive athleticism is lacking.
And if they go best-player available, maybe the Pistons could select the 6-10, 260-pound high flyer.
With Kentucky’s annual perch atop collegiate recruiting rankings, it creates an atmosphere of players being needed to fill roles with the star-studded rosters.
That might not give much opportunity to display talents.
But it does make for competitive practices.
“You’re playing against the best competition on the same team so you fighting for minutes and also you fighting to prove a point against somebody else. Just being competitive because if you’re not competitive, it’s going to show in practice,” Adebayo said.