SJ Takeout: Edrice Adebayo

HAMPTON, Va. — There's this little competitive thing going on in North Carolina. Three sophomores, Harry Giles, Junior Smith and Adebayo, have their eyes on elite status in the Class of 2016 and project as national factors for the next two grassroots cycles.

Interestingly, however, Smith was the only one of the trio to gain much exposure this past season. Giles missed the entire year to repair a damaged knee, and Edrice Adebayo has become something of a mystery man given that he competes for a tiny high school in rural, eastern North Carolina.

Not that anyone ever has doubted his high-major credentials. Even last spring, at the Carolina Challenge, Adebayo clearly possessed the body and athleticism to play in a major conference. The only question is how high, what's his expected impact and how soon?

The Southern Jam Fest this weekend offered a long-awaited glimpse at his current stage of development. To be sure, he doesn't yet wield a polished offensive game. He doesn't shoot particularly well facing the basket and must continue to develop his post footwork.

That said, he's productive due to his natural gifts and seems to have the potential to improve his deficiencies. Blessed with a great, long stride, long arms, coordinated hands and feet and good balance, physically Adebayo reminds a bit of a young J.J. Hickson.

He runs the floor with speed, elevates for slams and blocks and already carries a powerful frame. At 6-8, those tools could enable him to enjoy a very long career in the sport.

If he were all athlete, he wouldn't catch the ball cleanly in traffic. And he did have a couple drops this weekend I thought he might catch, but he also secured some traffic rebounds and one-handed snatches that indicate his hands should not prove a hindrance as he evolves.

Along with a rugged style, sound defensive instincts and some talents that can't be taught or developed, Adebayo should continue to occupy five star status in the Class of 2016.


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