Multiple reports on Monday morning are relaying what's long been presumed: Kentucky freshman power forward Bam Adebayo is gone for good to the NBA. The 6-foot-9 bruiser leaves after averaging 13.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in his one season with the Wildcats. He was a solid piece but not quite the star that was perhaps expected of him while at UK.
To be fair, Kentucky had a tremendous backcourt led by Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox and if anything, Adebayo sacrificed some of his role for the betterment of Kentucky's scheme.
Adebayo announced April 5 that he would enter the draft pool but not immediately sign with an agent. Now he's going to go ahead and, according to Sports Illustrated, sign with Alex Saratkis of Octagon Sports & Entertainment Agency.
Three quick hits on Adebayo's final call here:
1. Kentucky has never had a bigger reload
Obviously John Calipari recruits only to to replace, and every year of his eight years at UK has involved heavy freshman involvement. But eight of Kentucky's top nine players (the exception being Wenyen Gabriel, who will be a sophomore) won't be back in 2018-19. With Adebayo's decision now set, and to the NBA Draft, the Wildcats will be as fascinating as ever because they'll essentially rely on freshmen to win the SEC, to get to 30 victories, to reach the second weekend (and beyond?) of the NCAA Tournament. Calipari's had young teams before, but he's never had bigger turnover from one season to the next like last season vs. next.
2. Adebayo's stock is all over the place
As a 16-year-old recruit, just three years ago, there were rumblings Adebayo was on the path to being a real contender for No. 1 overall draft status down the road. That's no longer the case. He's at best going to be taken 20th. At worst? Around 40th. Few players will have more ambiguity attached to their draft stock this year than Bam.
I am not calling this a trend, but just pointing it out: For the second straight year, a Kentucky big man leaves the program after one year with the Wildcats and will likely end up getting selected in a much lower spot than where he was projected entering his freshman year. Skal Labissiere went 29th in 2016 draft; he was discussed as a potential No. 1 pick before playing a game under Calipari. Labissiere and Adebayo have vastly different styles and accents to their games. Labissiere is a modern, slim stretch 4. Adebayo's almost out of the early 1990s with the way he plays.
3. Need a refresher? Here's who Kentucky is losing
The Wildcats need to replace 81 points per game worth of offense. The team averaged 85 last season.