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Five and counting: UK freshman Bam Adebayo hires an agent, opts to remain in NBA Draft

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By Keith Taylor
Special to NKyTribune

It didn’t take Bam Adebayo long to decide his future plans.

The Kentucky freshman forward declared for the NBA Draft earlier this month but opted against signing with an agent, leaving the door open for a possible return for a second season with the Wildcats. Adebayo announced Tuesday that he’s signing with an agent, ending his one-year collegiate career.

Bam Adebayo announced he was staying in the NBA Draft Tuesday, ending his collegiate career (Keith Taylor Photo)

Adebayo became the fifth underclassman to forgo a collegiate career to remain in the draft. Classmate Hamidou Diallo declared for the draft last Sunday, but opted against signing with an agent, at least for the time being. De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries have each hired an agent and will forgo their college eligibility.

Adebayo made his final decision after consulting with Kentucky coach John Calipari, the Kentucky coaching staff and his family. Adebayo came to the conclusion that “it’s in my best interest to remain in the draft.”

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

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The 6-foot-10 Adebayo averaged 13 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats last season. He tallied five double-doubles in the last 11 games for Kentucky, which finished 32-6 and lost to eventual NCAA champion North Carolina in the Elite Eight. In the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, Adebayo grabbed 18 rebounds in a win over Northern Kentucky, the most in the tournament for any player under Calipari.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better group to grow with — we were all like brothers,” Adebayo said. “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.”

Calipari said Adebayo will succeed at the next level.

“The biggest thing is he can guard al five positions,” Calipari said. “When you can guard the pick and roll like he does, you have great value. When you can make free throws, it means you can shoot.”

Adebayo shot 59.9 percent from the field and collected 101 dunks, the most for any player in the Calipari era at Kentucky. During his eight seasons with the Wildcats, Calipari has produced 28 NBA draft picks, including 21 in the first round and 14 lottery selections.

Keith Taylor is a senior sports writer for KyForward, where he primarily covers University of Kentucky sports. Reach him at keith.taylor@kyforward.com or @keithtaylor21 on Twitter

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