A five-star recruit and the No. 2 power forward in his class, according to ESPN, Adebayo was believe to be one of the best big man prospects on the board when coming out of high school. He had the frame of Dwight Howard with post skills and strength on the boards.
Early draft projections and big boards had Adebayo as a lottery pick, but early on in his freshman season he struggled to be a commanding presence down low. Despite his combination of size and athleticism, he seemed to be an average big man.
However, a change of diet and some strong SEC play greatly improved Adebayo’s draft stock. At the end of the season and in the SEC Tournament, Adebayo recorded three double-doubles in five games, and then put up two more double-doubles against NKU and Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament.
Those performances combined with some solid pre-draft workouts in which he displayed ferocious finishing ability and great shooting range for a big man led Adebayo to have a resurgence on draft boards. Many were still unsure of where he could go, predicting anywhere from the end of the lottery to the end of the first round, so seeing him go this high was great to see.