Ex-Cats

NBA Draft profile: Get to know Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo

Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo’s NBA Draft projections have ranged from the teens to early in the second round.
Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo’s NBA Draft projections have ranged from the teens to early in the second round. UK Athletics

All about Bam Adebayo

College: Kentucky

Position: Forward/center

Measurables (from NBA Combine): 6’9¾” with shoes, 243 pounds, 7’2¾” wingspan, 9’0” standing reach, 33.5” no-step vertical, 38.5” maximum vertical

Hometown: Little Washington, N.C. (High Point Christian Academy)

UK statistics: Averaged 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as a freshman. Shot 59.9 percent from the field and 65.3 percent from the free-throw line.

Honors and superlatives: Named second-team All-Southeastern Conference by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press. … Also made the coaches’ SEC All-Freshman Team. … Made the SEC All-Tournament Team after helping lead the Wildcats to the SEC Tournament championship. … Two-time SEC Freshman of the Week award winner (Feb. 27 and March 6) … Dunked 101 shots this season, surpassing Anthony Davis’ John Calipari-era record of 92 … Eighth among all freshmen nationally in rebounds per game. … Debuted in the NCAA Tournament with 15 points and 18 rebounds against Northern Kentucky. The 18 rebounds were the most boards in the Calipari era in the NCAA Tournament and the third most all-time in UK history in the tournament. … Per ESPN Stats & Info, he became the second Kentucky player (Julius Randle in 2014) with a double-double in each of his first two NCAA Tournament games.

Before Kentucky: Born July 18, 1997, in Newark, N.J. … Named a McDonald’s All-American and participated in the Jordan Brand Classic game. … Named to second team of the All-USA Boys Basketball Team. … Named second-team Naismith All-American. … Named North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year. … Ranked in the top 10 by ESPN (No. 5) and Rivals (No. 7). … Scout (No. 11) and 247Sports (No. 12) had him as a top-15 prospect in the 2016 class. … Chose Kentucky over N.C. State, Auburn and Kansas.

Adebayo on Twitter: @Bam1of1

When the 2016-17 NBA season ended, former Wildcats who played under Calipari were spread across 15 of the league’s 30 teams. That number is likely to increase at Thursday's NBA Draft.

Adebayo in mock drafts

DraftExpress (June 22): 18th to the Indiana Pacers

ESPN (June 22): 17th to the Milwaukee Bucks

NBA.com (June 22): 17th to the Milwaukee Bucks

CBS Sports (June 21): 26th to the Portland Trail Blazers

The Ringer (June 22): 15th to the Portland Trail Blazers

Sporting News (June 22): 22nd to the Brooklyn Nets

Draft analysts on Adebayo

DraftExpress: “Adebayo is a shade undersized for a center, but has the length and athleticism to compensate, as well as a chiseled frame that will allow him to hold his own against NBA big men from day one. He also possesses impressive mobility and agility for his size, which he uses to be the first big man down the floor in transition or switch onto guards in the half-court. … At this point, Adebayo’s offensive game is unrefined, doing most of his damage around the basket. … The development of Adebayo’s skill-level will be a significant factor in his ability to carve out an important role in the NBA.”

The Crossover: “He’s got a great build, works hard on the glass, plays above the rim and doesn’t eat up a ton of touches in order to do his job. That much should translate. He’s made up for a lack of post skills with effort to this point. On the defensive end he’s a work in progress, but has the ability to make an impact protecting the basket with some added polish. If Adebayo’s jumper improves, there could be another level of role player potential here.”

The Ringer: “Projects as an energy big man but needs to improve his awareness and proper technique to stay on the floor. … Quick and explosive leaper with good hands and coordination at the rim. Runs the floor hard. … May never be part of his game, but upside is there if he develops his jumper.”

ESPN’s Jay Bilas: “If Bam can stretch his range out, he becomes even more valuable. With his athleticism, his body, his length and his ability to rebound and work the glass, if you can step out and knock down shots and work as a floor stretcher, that’s what the NBA is looking for in a lot of big guys.”

Since John Calipari began coaching Kentucky in the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats have had more players selected in the NBA Draft than any other school or foreign country.

Coach Cal on Adebayo

“Bam was our hardest worker this season. You’re talking about a player who can guard all five positions, has more perimeter skills than people know, and someone with size and a physique that immediately translates to that league. Bam is a great kid with a ton of upside. … Every organization needs character and Bam is a high-character kid who only cares about winning.”

“Right now, everybody is stunned how Bam shoots the ball. I must have had 10 calls (saying) ‘I didn’t realize he shot the ball this way.’”

Adebayo videos and more

Dennis Varney: 859-231-3514, @ExCats

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