Like a lot of athletes, Bam Adebayo wears a rubber bracelet on his wrist with a message on it. Bam’s reads “1 Peter 4:10,” referring to a Bible verse that reads, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
The Kentucky big man says he picked the bracelet up from someone at the John Calipari Fantasy Camp in September, and ever since, it’s been on his wrist.
“At fantasy camp, this dude was handing them out, and I saw the Bible verse and I just grabbed one. My other one broke, so I grabbed this one. I read the Bible every now and then so when I see this, I will go to that verse and read it again.”
In his short time at Kentucky, Bam has been doing his best to use his “gifts,” morphing into a consistent post presence, particularly in the past month. In the last ten games, Bam’s averaged 14.4 points and 11 rebounds, while shooting 63% from the floor. That consistency bodes well for the Cats, particularly since he was only 33% of the floor since UCLA in December, earning 10 of his 18 points at the free-throw line. Bam had a career-high 18 rebounds in Kentucky’s tournament opener vs. Northern Kentucky a week ago, and when Wichita State’s Darral Willis Jr. vowed to “shut that down,” he turned in another double-double, putting up 13 points off 6-11 shooting and 10 rebounds. Bam may look intimidating, but in person, he’s all smiles and reflection.
“Coming from a small town, you never thought you’d be playing in a Sweet 16 so I’m just going to go out there and play my hardest and play with my teammates,” Bam said about his freshman year. “A lot of people don’t get chosen to be recruited by Kentucky but I’m blessed that I was. Now that I’m here, I’ve just got to have fun with it and enjoy the rest.”
Most of the time when you ask Bam about his time at Kentucky, he talks about his teammates.
“We’ve got a lot of great guys. We all stick together, we have fun. It’s not only on the court, it’s off the court. We stick together, we go out to movies, we just hang around each other a lot,” Bam said, noting that the last movie they saw was King Kong (he gave it two thumbs up).
On the court, you can tell this team has really come together over the past month, particularly on defense; Bam said that’s been the biggest change since Kentucky played UCLA in December.
“I feel like we’ve gotten a lot better. We’re getting stops, we’re taking charges, we’re having fun on defense, we’re talking. We’re just enjoying it.”
When asked if he was going in to tomorrow’s game looking for revenge, Bam wisely took the high road, refusing to give the Bruins bulletin board material.
“We’re just going to go out there and play hard. It’s another game we’ve got to look for and prepare for. It just so happened to be UCLA, so we’ve just got to go out there and play hard.”
And use those gifts they were given.