Top 10 of 2017: Adebayo drafted 14th by Miami

Published 10:13 am Friday, December 29, 2017

Years of dedication and hard work paid off in spades for Edrice “Bam” Adebayo. The Northside product’s basketball journey had taken him from Pinetown to High Point to Kentucky.

That winding road delivered him to New York on June 22 where he was drafted 14th overall by the Miami Heat. The call he received around 9 o’clock that evening was one he had been waiting for his entire life.

“It’s a blessing. I give everything to God,” Adebayo said after the draft. He didn’t know Miami would be selecting him until about 30 seconds before NBA commissioner Adam Silver walked out. “… I’m glad everyone has supported me and is still behind me.”

The moments leading up to his selection were a bit stressful.

“My emotions were everywhere. While I was sitting at the table, my agent said, ‘Anything can happen.’ Every team was making trades, making discussions. Then my name got called.

“It was a sense of relief. I was happy it was over so I didn’t have to sit there and be worried anymore.”

The 6-foot-10 forward spent three seasons with the Panthers before heading to High Point Christian Academy for his senior season. From there, schools from all over the country sought the services of Adebayo — some as close as East Carolina and North Carolina State — before settling on Kentucky.

“I just consider myself lucky to have been able to coach him for three years,” Northside coach Mike Proctor said. “He is such a hard worker and truly humble person. He is like a member of our family. We want nothing but the best for him.”

Life has been a whirlwind since. Adebayo promptly moved himself and his mother to Miami. Playing basketball for a living has been a dream for as long as he can remember. However, being able to provide for his mother, Marilyn Blount, was one of the most rewarding aspects of entering the NBA. She worked day in, day out for nearly 20 years to make sure Adebayo could pursue his dreams.

“She’s having the time of her life. It’s always been a dream of mine because I know how hard she’s struggled for me,” he said. “She was a single mother taking care of an abnormal, you know, being 6-10 as a junior in high school.”

Adebayo after the draft expressed his excitement. He couldn’t wait to take in the atmosphere. He looked forward to playing with and against the best players in the world. He wanted to prove his worth.

He’s been able to do all that and more. Adebayo played sparingly in the first four games of the season. He logged 23 minutes and scored 15 points in an Oct. 11 win over Washington.

Just over two weeks later, Adebayo registered his first career double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds) in a 125-122 loss to Minnesota. He’s been playing significant minutes since starting center Hassan Whiteside suffered a knee injury at the end of November. He played 22 minutes off the bench in a win at Charlotte — his first trip back to North Carolina as a professional.