Edrice “Bam” Adebayo played his final game as a Wildcat on March 26, 2017. We all remember the disappointing loss to the Tar Heels in the Elite Eight. We all remember De’Aaron Fox’s tearful interview with Adebayo next to him in the locker room after that game. We all remember waiting for this group of Cats to announce if they were staying or going.
Bam kept us on the hook for a little bit by not signing an agent even after declaring for the draft (thereby preserving his option to return to school). But almost a month after the loss, Sports Illustrated’s Brian Hamilton reported that Bam had signed with agent Alex Saratsis, and just like that, his career at UK was over.
The first stop on the road to the draft was a trip to the NBA Combine in Chicago, IL. He was weighed and measured and given the chance to showcase his skills. In addition to the tests of his athletic prowess (which Big Blue Nation was able to witness all year), Adebayo held interviews with multiple teams.
However, after the workouts in Chicago, Bam wasn’t turning heads. A Bleacher-Report mock draft, released after the combine and lottery, had Adebayo going at number 28 to the Lakers. Said Bleacher-Report’s Jonathan Wasserman:
He'll slip without shooting range, strong rebounding and shot-blocking numbers. In L.A., he'll give his guards a high-percentage finishing and lob target, and he's a capable scorer with his back to the basket.
But Bam was just getting started. His individual pre-draft workouts included teams like the Trail Blazers, Pacers, Pistons, Hornets, and Nuggets among others. Through these workouts, Bam was able to showcase his entire repertoire of skills in front of, and even away from, the basket.
In his last workout with the Hornets, Bam went 13-25 (52%) behind the arc. That’s right. Bam hit over 50% from three-point range. I was shocked to see the numbers, but this shows, yet again, that the depth Cal typically has on his teams at Kentucky can help shield some aspects of a player’s game that aren’t needed during his time as a Wildcat (remember teams being shocked by KAT or AD’s ability to shoot the ball as well).
In the midst of all this, and before his stock began to rise, Adebayo also joined teammate De’Aaron Fox by signing an endorsement deal with Nike.
Now here we are, two days before draft day. No one really knows what will happen and Adebayo’s position in the draft is anywhere from 17th to the Bucks (NBADraft.net) or 18th to the Pacers (DraftExpress.com) or 20th to the Trail Blazers (Chad Ford’s latest Mock).
The experts are picking him at the tail end of the first round; Cal thinks he could be a late lottery pick. Only the draft will tell us for sure. I think it is safe to say that Bam has proven what he can. His one college season was spectacular, including a run in the NCAA Tournament that helped propel the Cats to the Elite Eight. Wherever he goes, Bam will be an asset with his size, his agility, and his ability to develop an outside shot to stretch the floor.
Remember to watch Bam and his fellow Cats in the draft Thursday night at 7 PM EDT.