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One And Done: Goodbye, Bam


Bam Adebayo is gone.

Kentucky’s lovable big man reportedly hired an agent after initially leaving open the option to return when he declared for the draft two weeks ago. The hiring of the agent ends his amateur status and college eligibility, thus ending his time as a Kentucky Wildcat. Your hopes and prayers for a sophomore season went unanswered.

In my opinion the move was the right one, although others will say different. That’s a conversation we can have some other time. For now let’s just look back on Adebayo’s one season in Lexington as he looks ahead to the next phase of his basketball life.


The Commitment

Bam Adebayo made a special guest appearance on Mike & Mike in November of his senior season to announce his college decision.

That decision was, of course, to attend the University of Kentucky:

Adebayo chose Kentucky over North Carolina and Auburn, as well as interest and offers from many other schools.

The fifth-ranked player in his class, Adebayo cited John Calipari’s ability to get players to the next level as one of the main reasons he picked the Cats.

That Story About The Coffee Table

It wouldn’t be a tribute to Bam Adebayo without regurgitating the story of how he became Bam in the first place. As legend has it, Adebayo picked up the family coffee table while watching The Flintstones with his mother when he was only one year old. The nickname was born from there and the story was told way too many times throughout this past season.

The Dwight Howard Comparisons

Though he absolutely hated it, Adebayo was often compared to Dwight Howard when he first got to campus. However, we quickly learned to never, ever, ever compare him to Dwight Howard to his face, unless you had a death wish.

The good people over at KSTV had some preseason fun with Adebayo’s teammates and the uncanny resemblance:

I guess being compared to Dwight Howard isn’t a good thing these days, at least not as good as it was 10 years ago.

The Preseason Hype/Early NBA Projections

Adebayo was the fifth overall pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in’s first NBA mock draft for the 2017 draft, while Chad Ford over at projected Adebayo would go 12th overall, still in the lottery.

“Bam Adebayo already has the NBA body and athleticism that teams crave in their power forwards,” Ford wrote last fall. “He’s an explosive athlete who plays with a great motor. He’s going to be a rebounding and shot-blocking machine for Kentucky.”

Meanwhile, college basketball media types (us included) threw around that “beast” word to describe what we expected to see out of the freshman.

John Calipari also called him a beast when he said, “We have to buy a couple more backboards down at Rupp, because we only have three and I’m afraid if he breaks one or breaks two … like, this kid, he’s a beast.”

Calipari even hinted at the possibility of Adebayo developing at the rate of Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Davis by the end of his first season.

The Underwhelming Start

It was obvious out of the gate that Adebayo would need some time to find his footing in college basketball. The look test he passed with flying colors over the summer didn’t translate to the college game right away. Sure, he bullied some of the inferior competition on Kentucky’s early schedule, but Adebayo struggled when he ran into players who would push back. Foul trouble was also an early criticism and focal point for the coaching staff.

Above all, Adebayo’s rebounding was the most underwhelming aspect of his game. Once predicted to be a double-double machine for the Wildcats, the big man had only three double-doubles in his first 27 games in college, and scoring was never the problem.

The Dunks (Bam Slams)

There was no shortage of dunks (or Bam Slams) from Adebayo in his one season at Kentucky. He set a new record for the Calipari era with 101 dunks on the year, surpassing Anthony Davis’ record of 92 dunks in the 2011-12 season.

Here is one of the those 101 dunks:


And here is another:


The Late Emergence

While the double-doubles were hard to come by through the first four months of the season, Adebayo had no problem getting them by the end. Once that switch flipped and the light came on in mid-SEC play, Adebayo closed the season with an average of 14.3 points and 10.2 rebounds in the nine games leading into the NCAA tournament. The late emergence led Matt Norlander to write a piece titled “Why Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament prospects rest on Bam Adebayo’s shoulders” and predict Adebayo would become a breakout star in March.

The NCAA Tournament

Adebayo went on to score 28 points and grab 28 rebounds in Kentucky’s first two games in the tournament. The second of those games, against Wichita State, came with some extra motivation thanks to Wichita’s Darral Willis Jr. saying he would shut Adebayo down.

Bam’s mom was pretty excited about Kentucky’s win and her son’s double-double response to Willis Jr.’s comment:

The Goodbye

Back on April 5, Adebayo said goodbye to Big Blue Nation:

“This process we went through at Kentucky was a tough but a rewarding one,” Adebayo said. “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.”

An unbelievable ride indeed.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

10 Comments for One And Done: Goodbye, Bam

  1. AGSlater
    8:16 pm April 24, 2017 Permalink

    Cal should be crushed if diallo stays in draft. No excuse what so ever for that bs situation. He should have played last year. The only reason Cal got him on that team is to say he got another draft pick ( which he will no doubt). A load of crap. This AAA college team is starting to get sad. They need to just get out of NCAA and start their own amateur orginization. 500 nba players 1 title

  2. DelrayCat
    8:20 pm April 24, 2017 Permalink

    Bam will be a solid pro. I would have liked to see him at UK next year, but he will be a valuable role player for some NBA team for years to come. If he can develop a jump shot, he could even become a core rotation player like PPat. However, he really need to work on not bring the ball down low every time he touches it….if I had a dollar for every time he got his pocket picked by a smaller player slapping the ball out of his hands…I could probably but a plane ticket to Vegas.

  3. DelrayCat
    8:25 pm April 24, 2017 Permalink

    Bam’s biggest problem will be the fact he is a tweener. He is too small for a center and not skilled enough to be a 4 in today’s game. He will serve a great role as a banger, rebounder, defender off the bench…but not much more in my opinion unless he develops a mid-range game at least. However, I’m sure he has it within him and he clearly has great work ethic. He may just be a diamond in the rough and could be a completely different player in the NBA. He has a nice stroke from the line so he only needs confidence.

    • Bobbum Man
      1:04 pm April 25, 2017 Permalink

      Read he actually measured about 6’8… heck he’s hardly gonna be big enough to play PF

  4. Kychopsticks
    1:32 am April 25, 2017 Permalink

    Good luck Edrice!

  5. chris43
    2:22 am April 25, 2017 Permalink

    Hate to see you go but good luck Bam. Buy momma a nice house and have fun with the money.

  6. Ridge Runner
    5:54 am April 25, 2017 Permalink

    Bamba, your door has just opened sir…