This time last year Edrice “Bam Bam” Adebayo was at Northside (Pinetown, N.C.) dominating teams to the tune of 32 points and 21 rebounds a game, but, instead of props, everyone chalked those mind-boggling numbers up to weak competition.
“I was tired of that,” Adebayo said. “I felt like people just kept saying that so I knew I had to go out and prove myself. I definitely didn’t think I was 100 percent gonna make the McDonald’s All American Game. I knew I had to put in work.”
This past summer he did just that; Adebayo, who is ranked No. 4 overall in the ESPN 100, averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds a game for Team Loaded (N.C.) on the adidas Gauntlet then transferred to High Point Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) where he’s averaging 20 points and 15 rebounds a game while playing a gruesome schedule against nationally ranked teams.
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Friday afternoon when Adebayo received his honorary McDonald’s All American Game jersey during a ceremony at his school as part of the McDonald’s All American Game Hometown Heroes presented by American Family Insurance it was a culmination of his hard work.
“It feels great to get to put this jersey on because so many other players weren’t able to do it,” said Adebayo, who signed with Kentucky in November. “I’m just happy to be able to be a part of this game.”
He’s similarly ecstatic about being a part of the country’s No. 1 recruiting class; Adebayo joins Cypress Lakes (Katy, Texas) point guard De’Aaron Fox, Bentonville (Bentonville, Ark.) shooting guard Malik Monk, Virginia Episcopal School (Lynchburg, Va.) forward Sacha Killeya-Jones and Wilbraham & Monson (Wilbraham, Mass.) forward Wenyen Gabriel to form Kentucky’s 2016 haul to this point.
But is there any pressure to get the Wildcats, who are currently ranked No. 21, back on top?
“Not at all,” Adebayo said. “We’re not worried about that at all. I think we just need to focus on coming in there and working hard and things will work out. I only know how to go hard so that’ll be easy for me.”
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