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Bam Adebayo entering 2017 NBA Draft without hiring agent

Bam is keeping open the option to return for a sophomore season.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, Kentucky announced that Bam Adebayo is entering the 2017 NBA Draft.

However, he will not hire an agent in order to preserve his college eligibility in the event he returns.

“This process we went through at Kentucky was a tough but a rewarding one,” Adebayo said via a press release. “It was everything I wanted when I decided to come to Kentucky. It taught me a lot. It taught me how to be a better man on and off the court. I have improved so much since the beginning of the season thanks to the hard work of the coaching staff. They helped me with every step of the process along the way and they never gave up on me.

“I want to thank my teammates. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to grow with. We were all like brothers. I also want to thank the fans for their support and everything they do for us. Their passion is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

“I feel I’m making the right step in declaring for the draft, but I want to be absolutely sure that I’m making the right decision for me and my mom. I’m looking forward to the process and I appreciate the support of the coaches, my teammates and the fans. No matter what happens, it’s been an unbelievable ride.”

Adebayo is the third underclassman to declare for the draft, joining De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, though those two plan to sign with agents, which would effectively end their collegiate eligibility.

While it appears Bam is planning on being in the NBA next season, he’s at least keeping open the option of a return.

“Bam was our hardest worker this season,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “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. Should he decide to stay in the draft, he will be an outstanding four man in the NBA. Every organization needs character and Bam is a high-character kid who only cares about winning.”

For the season, Adebayo averaged 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds per game. He also led the team in blocks per game (1.5) and double-doubles (eight).

Bam will likely get an invite to the NBA Combine in May before making a final decision sometime afterwards, so this could go on another month or more before we know if Bam is staying or going, but expect it to be the latter.