Edrice Adebayo: Junior Primer

Eastern North Carolina typically doesn’t feature big high schools or extensive media coverage, but Edrice (affectionately known as “Bam”) Adebayo possesses a talent that’s too significant to ignore.

How he got here

As a freshman at Pinetown (N.C.) Northside, Edrice Adebayo built a reputation quickly. He attended the final edition of the Carolina Challenge as a marquee attraction, and head to head versus fellow freshman Harry Giles, he held his own.

Adebayo proceeded through his sophomore year retaining his hold on blue-chip status. He entered the 2014 travel season as one of the key performers for Boo Williams Summer League, a powerful program that over three decades has catapulted numerous players to collegiate and professional success.

Adebayo stands just 6-8 but plays much taller

Playing up a year on the EYBL circuit, Adebayo was aggressive and productive. He also attended events such as the NBPA Top 100 Camp and showcased his ability there as well.

His recruitment naturally has operated at a high level from day one. He picked up scholarship offers from N.C. State, North Carolina, Cincinnati and Virginia Tech even before last summer, and he now includes Kansas, East Carolina, Memphis, Wake Forest and others on his list.

Adebayo’s play for BWSL improved over the course of last year’s travel season. He was energetic, yet inconsistent at April’s Southern Jam Fest, but by the summer he’d found his stride.

His averages with Boo included 11 points per game over 23 contests, shooting an efficient 59 percent from the field for a strong team. He also contributed eight rebounds and more than one block per game.

Adebayo currently ranks No. 21 nationally and appears to have a great shot at various All-American squads following his senior season. In the meantime, of course, everyone will track his recruitment closely, with most believing that he’ll land at one of the in-state schools.

To 2015. …

Adebayo already does enough things well that he’ll always factor in near the top of the rankings. He’s strong, athletic, has long arms, a physical style and competes tirelessly.

He also has improved his offense. He sets up for deep position and delivers inside via short jump hooks with either hand. Adebayo even faces the basket on occasion and can bury a face-up jumper to 15 feet. He’s especially comfortable along the baselines.

To vault even further in the minds of coaches, building on his offensive game will be key. There’s room to improve his footwork and to build a smoother, more natural offensive repertoire. He also shot just 63 percent from the free throw line, another clear issue to address.

The travel circuit always has been critically important when evaluating Adebayo, because he plays at a small high school that rarely offers up anyone within his size category. For that reason, then, it’s all the more impressive that he has battled as effectively as he has versus older and more seasoned opponents.

Adebayo also must cede the spotlight within his home state, because in his own class there are two North Carolinians — Giles and Dennis Smith — who reside in the national top 10. Nevertheless, he has carved out a national reputation with grassroots media and, infinitely more important, has impressed elite college coaches from coast to coast.

He’ll remain a key figure on the Class of 2016 landscape and holds the potential to play the game for a long time.

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