And he delivered.
“We came up short in Peach Jam and we weren’t supposed to,” said Adebayo, the No. 25 overall player in the class of 2016, who embraces his "Bam Bam" nickname.
“We got too happy because we made it to the final four. When we got to the Super Showcase we said we were going to focus on the goal and win it all.”
The motor and defense of Adebayo have never been in question. They’re what first attracted many college coaches to the Pinetown (N.C.) Northside junior. His offense, however, which Adebayo says he’s been working on over the last year, has improved.
“I think he did a bit better than we expected,” said Eric Peartree, family friend and lead on Adebayo’s recruitment. “He played well at Peach Jam and continued that in Louisville.”
At 6-10, 230 pounds, Adebayo has the size and physicality to match up with other big men in his class. There were several instances this summer where he frustrated and even shutdown more skilled offensive players.
“He fools a lot of people with his length,” Peartree explained. “He’s also more athletic than he’s given credit for. When those guys try to come at him on defense, he knows how to use his hands. That’s why he blocks so many shots. That’s what we set out to do. We’re not finished, we’re just getting started. We want to get to the top.”
To finish his summer season, Adebayo will participate in the Nike Global Challenge in Chicago beginning Aug. 13.
“I want to do there what I do at every tournament,” said Adebayo. “I want to get exposure, have a good time and get better.”
Adebayo added several scholarship offers this summer, including Kansas. He already had offers from N.C. State, UNC, Iowa State and Virginia. For one of those programs to land Adebayo, certain criteria must be met.
“You want to be able to come in and contribute to the program, but you also want to be the man,” Peartree said. “That’s our goal. It’s (the decision) going to be the best fit for Bam, his family… what school is going to make Bam the starter he’s supposed to be? Who is going to put him in the forefront, make him the leader of the team and build around him?”
According to Peartree the process will be “taken real slow,” but they’ll begin narrowing down Adebayo’s list in the next six to eight months.
As for UNC, Roy Williams and his staff doggedly watched Adebayo this summer. At least one member of the UNC coaching staff was at nearly every one of Boo Williams’s games during the open evaluation periods.
“Coach Williams is a nice guy, a moderate guy,” said Peartree. “He talks about the program… he wants to get to know the kid better. It’s not always as much about basketball as it is how he fits with the coach. That’s the approach he’s taking. It’s about learning Bam and Bam learning him. But we have a lot of people that are concerned about the Carolina offer; a lot of people are backing off of him now. The recruitment is wide open; we don’t want anyone to be afraid to recruit him.”
Adebayo doesn’t have any visits scheduled, but hopes to “get to a lot of schools” this fall.
Still, Boo Williams, Adebayo’s AAU coach, has an idea where his big man might end up.
“I’d be shocked if he didn’t go to Carolina,” Boo Williams said. “Carolina kid and he grew up in Carolina.”