Beaufort County witnessing a once-in-a-generation kind of talent
When Dominique Wilkins graced Washington High School with his presence back in the late ‘70s, it was pure, unrivaled basketball talent people in a county with just 40,000 had never seen in person.
He had it all — basketball intelligence, court vision, height and, most importantly, finesse. Nicknamed The Human Highlight Film, Wilkins stood at 6-foot-8, 224 pounds, with muscle tone that resembled nothing short of a racehorse.
He was a basketball specimen like none other, a once-in-a-generation talent.
Now, well, that generation has long passed, opening the door for another to follow in Wilkins’ footsteps.
Edrice “Bam” Adebayo is a name all-too familiar to Beaufort County residents, one that’s appeared on ESPN, nationally-based recruiting websites and this paper, probably more times than the latter.
Like Wilkins, Adebayo stands somewhere in between 6-8 and 6-9 and is built like a brick wall. Instead of the Pam Pack, Adebayo suits up for the Northside Panthers, a 1-A institution that lacks the timeless basketball history of Washington. Adebayo, however, is writing his own history and it’s time for everyone to take notice.
Adebayo is the No. 8 overall recruit in the Class of 2016, a five-star prospect, according to ESPN. He’s garnered interest from schools like Memphis, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech and East Carolina. Over the last two years, he’s received countless visits from assistant coaches, the Wolfpack’s Mark Gottfried, the Tarheel’s Roy Williams (pretty consistently) and, as of Wednesday, the Pirates’ Jeff Lebo, who usually has his assistant coaches make the recruiting trips.
On Tuesday, Northside came out sluggish, the guards unable to hit from virtually any range and turnovers in transition were rampant. But for head coach Mike Proctor, Adebayo was a constant, committing just one turnover in 32 minutes and putting the team on his back. His 38 points, 26 rebounds and one monster, momentum-swinging slam dunk were the difference between an early exit and the third round for the Panthers. But that’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Adebayo has had 40-plus point games this season and is averaging 32 a game to go along with 21 rebounds a game. They’re numbers that are comfortably best in the state among all classes.
Beaufort County is home to the best high school basketball player in North Carolina and one of the best in the country. Simply, we’ve been spoiled. With the high school basketball season almost over, the chances to watch history in the making just a 20 minute drive down Highway 264 are coming to end, as Adebayo will enter his final season at Northside next year.
If you haven’t seen the 6-foot-9 standout yet, you’re missing acrobatic dunks, athletic spin moves and an unstoppable scoring force. Go and witness history.