Bam Bam Panther

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, December 15, 2012

Northside’s 6-8, 220-pound freshman F/C Edrice Adebayo (24) is off to a hot start as he is averaging 16.4 points and 19.5 rebounds a game for the undefeated Panthers.

PINETOWN — Northside High School’s address may officially be listed in Pinetown, but for the next four years it will be known as Bedrock.
Thanks to the play of 6-8 freshman phenom Edrice Adebayo, AKA Bam Bam, the Panthers have gone back to the Stone Age turning opponents into rubble as their perfect 7-0 record has coach Mike Proctor and fans alike screaming “Yabba-Dabba-Doo!”
The 6-8, 220-pound Adebayo was recently invited to play on the USA Basketball 16U developmental team and is listed among the nation’s elite prospects for the class of 2016. The Northside ninth-grader has not disappointed in his first year playing varsity ball as he is posting 16.4 points, 19.5 rebounds and 4 blocks per outing.
Though he has the size of a college power forward, Adebayo is surprisingly nimble an amazingly coordinated for somebody his age and height, but what has impressed his coach the most this season is his humble attitude and work ethic.
“Oh my God, he is such a good guy,” Proctor said. “He’s raised right. I don’t know his mom (Marylyn Blount) too well but I have talked to her a few times and you can tell he’s raised right. I’ve never heard anybody say a bad word about him.”
In an era where most nicknames stem from an ironic origin — for example anybody named Tiny is usually the most massive person on Earth — “Bam Bam” comes straight from the source.
“When I was little me and my mom were watching the Flintstones and I went over and picked up the coffee table,” Adebayo said.
From there — pardon the pun —the rest was history.
As far as his goals for the year go, Adebayo’s were as straightforward as his moniker.
“Personally, I just want to do good in my classes,” Adebayo said. “My team goals are for us to stick together and be like a fist and just play hard.”
The sports world is an egocentric one, but to have a star player whose only care on the court is about winning games can do wonders for a team. (See Tim Duncan and the Spurs.)
Having such a highly-regarded ninth grader be the big man on campus could potentially lead to big team issues and ego bruises, but there has been none of that at Northside.
“That’s a really, really positive thing,” Proctor said. “They work hard and they let me jump on them without pouting. If your best two players work as hard as (Adebayo and Antonio “Boot Man” Woods) do then it makes it really easy. Plus we have (point guard) Kentrell (Washington) who’s a great leader for us too.
“…The other guys have really excepted him in part because he is such a good guy. If he wasn’t such a good guy then I think the other guys might have resented him. But they don’t because he’s such a good person and that makes it a lot easier for us to come together as a team.”
The expectations for Bam Bam are as high as his 6-8 frame, but he shrugs them off like the many double teams he faces on a nightly basis.
“He just wants to play basketball. He’s played a lot of big time AAU games so he’s (used to the pressure) and just comes in and plays,” Proctor said. “He scores, blocks shots, rebounds and does what he can do and he’s not worried about anything else but playing ball.”