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Pat Riley on drafting Bam Adebayo, his first UK player at Miami: “Thank God we got one”


Pat Riley’s been waiting to draft a Kentucky player for years. Today, the former Cat and current Miami Heat president said that for too long, he was stuck in the “Duke mold,” which is why he’s thrilled to finally have a fellow Kentucky Wildcat on the roster in Bam Adebayo, whom the Heat selected with the 14th pick.

“I couldn’t get out of the Duke mold,” Riley quipped when asked what took him so long to draft a Kentucky player. “I’d fight like crazy on draft night. Thank God we got one. There’s always been a lot of guys on the board from Kentucky, but since 2009, Coach Cal, he’s had 17 freshmen lottery picks. A lot of times, we have been a good team picking in the 20s, we very rarely are picking on the lottery.”

“I’m not saying this is personal last night, that I wanted to get a guy from Kentucky. I just wanted to get Bam. I just felt that he was the best guy on the board, no doubt about it. We rated him at that time and when our pick came, his name was the one on the board, I was tickled to death.”

I think you can tell that from the hug Riley gave Bam when he walked into his office in Miami today:

Last night, Riley called Bam “the perfect fit” for Miami’s system.

“There were other bigs that were available that had specific skills, but there were other things we didn’t like about them. I think he’ll be a perfect fit for us,” Riley said. “It’s a wow factor. He’s not 7-1 like [Hassan Whiteside], but he plays like him at 6-9. He’s an above the rim player for real while other guys try to play above the rim. His speed, quickness, ability. We put him in situations to guard perimeter guys. We felt the need to get an athletic big. He’s a gamer. He’s hungry. He’s as clean as a whistle.”

Once again, Riley praised the job John Calipari has done at Kentucky, as well as Bam’s maturity.

“I’m a big fan of what John [Calipari] does from a coaching standpoint at Kentucky. He comes from a great system,” Riley said. “Also, when we sat and talked to Bam for an hour, you get blown away by his story, his background, his motivation. We felt he was the best player on the board at that time. Now he’s not the best shooter, but that all comes. When he was in the workout for us, he made 30 out of 50 threes and had a great release. All that comes with young big men.”

“He played 30 minutes a game, shot about 60 percent. He’s a very efficient player around the basket. Doesn’t need the ball. What [Calipari] said to me was, he was a great teammate, a wonderful teammate to have. When we talked to him, he had a level of maturity about him, a quietness about him that we really liked. I saw him play two or three times and a number of film sessions. There were three or four or five guys in the mix. He was actually ahead of the 14th pick [on our draft board]. We feel he’s going to be a special player.”

Simply awesome. Watch Bam’s introductory press conference below:

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

12 Comments for Pat Riley on drafting Bam Adebayo, his first UK player at Miami: “Thank God we got one”

  1. DelrayCat
    4:44 pm June 23, 2017 Permalink

    As someone who watched every UK game and by living in South Florida is also a big Heat fan…this is the PERFECT scenario for Bam. He can learn so much from Whiteside, Udonis Haslem and the best big man coaches in the league.
    But more than that… Miami is all about culture. And Bam is such a high character guy, he will be a perfect fit. He will not be asked to do anything but rebound, defend and bring energy early in his career. And as long as Whiteside is there, Bam can be VERY effective as a complimentary defender or as a #2 center. He could even start at PF if he develops a mid range pick-and-pop jumper with consistency.
    Plus, next summer I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Miami land a huge star in free agency and be at the top of the pack again in the east. Good for Bam…great kid…and he deserves it. Best situation of all UK draftees this year.

  2. 4everUKblue
    5:13 pm June 23, 2017 Permalink

    Where all the BBN Cal haters now? Stanley where you hiding? How bout you AG?

  3. 4everUKblue
    6:06 pm June 23, 2017 Permalink

    Very proud of Bam! So happy for him and his family.

  4. wesmorgan1
    6:38 pm June 23, 2017 Permalink

    Riley said, “Now he’s not the best shooter, but that all comes. When he was in the workout for us, he made 30 out of 50 threes and had a great release.”

    60% from 3 from a guy who’s probably going to play PF rates a “not the best”?

    What’s the expectation in these workouts? The PF with the best 3P% in the NBA last season was Channing Frye, at .409…and only one other PF broke 40%…

    • GroundControlToNumber9
      10:11 pm June 23, 2017 Permalink

      wesmorgan1 – Don’t be a noob.

      Most NBA players shoot much better in practice than in games.

      This isn’t a debatable subject matter.

      Bam shot well because he can..

    • Megan
      12:59 pm June 24, 2017 Permalink

      That performance was obviously an outlier. No one shoots 60 percent. All it demonstrated was that Bam is capable, not that he will continue to shoot at that clip. You should never draw too many conclusions from a single data point.

  5. Not Dan Issel
    6:47 pm June 23, 2017 Permalink

    The difference is shooting percentage in actual games versus practice. I remember an article many years ago in Sports Illustrated about Rick Mount at Purdue. He shot over 80% in practice, yet was under 50% in game situations, and was considered a great shooter. Dampier,i.e. Now that Bam has shown the ability to shoot, he must carry that over to actual game situations. I think he can do it,

  6. BBNDan7
    8:37 pm June 23, 2017 Permalink

    So glad at least one of our guys went to a respectable organization with true leadership in the front office. Too many guys over the years have gone to dumpster fire organizations.

    • rartis1986
      9:28 pm June 23, 2017 Permalink

      Thats what happens when you have those “dumpster fire organizations” picking our Cats at or near the top of the draft

    • BBNDan7
      11:13 pm June 23, 2017 Permalink

      Yeah? That’s what I said?

    • Megan
      1:03 pm June 24, 2017 Permalink

      Your use of the active voice made it sound like it was the players’ fault: “Too many of our guys over the years have gone to dumpster fire organizations.” Ratis was simply clarifying that it’s the teams who are responsible for picking our guys, not the other way around.


    • BBNDan7
      1:16 pm June 24, 2017 Permalink

      Since the post is about the draft it’s pretty self explanatory that they didn’t pick to go to any of those organizations.