Heat take Kentucky's Bam Adebayo at No. 14 in NBA draft
MIAMI (AP) Pat Riley and the Miami Heat left a clear impression on Bam Adebayo when he worked out for the team.
''They seem real cool,'' Adebayo said.
The Heat obviously liked him as well.
Miami took Adebayo with the No. 14 pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, adding someone who got to the rim with ease in his lone college season at Kentucky. Adebayo made 170 shots from the field for the Wildcats, 101 of those being dunks.
''I'm ready to get started,'' Adebayo said. ''I'm ready to get in that Heat jersey.''
Adebayo was one of 11 one-and-done college players taken in the 14 lottery spots in this year's draft, along with two sophomores and one international player.
''Probably the best athlete, hungry, humble and healthy,'' said Riley, the Heat president. ''Very strong, great workouts with us, great interview. Saw him a number of times. Just off the charts from an athletic standpoint. ... When he was on the board at 14, we felt just compelled to take him.''
Adebayo shot 60 percent in his lone college season, averaging 13.0 points and a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-10, 243-pounder was a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school, then was an All-SEC second-team pick this past season.
He could fill a frontcourt void for Miami with the likely loss of backup center Willie Reed in free agency. Reed is likely to command a salary that is outside of Miami's capabilities this summer. And while Adebayo isn't known for shooting from range, Riley said he made 30 of 50 3-point attempts in one Heat workout.
''I think he'll be a perfect fit for us,'' Riley said.
Heat center Hassan Whiteside - noting that Adebayo played his high school ball in High Point, North Carolina - sounded like he approved of the move.
''We needed another player from North Carolina on the squad,'' said Whiteside, a native of Gastonia, North Carolina.
For his part, Adebayo is ready to line up alongside Whiteside as well.
''I bring a motor,'' Adebayo said. ''I play with passion, just like he does.''
Adebayo becomes only the second lottery pick for the Heat in the last nine drafts, the other being No. 10 Justise Winslow in 2015. He was also the third player from Kentucky - where Riley, the Heat president, starred in the 1960s - to go in the first 14 picks of this draft, joining No. 5 De'Aaron Fox and No. 11 Malik Monk.
''We're like brothers,'' Adebayo said. ''This is like our graduation.''
Adebayo is in line to become the 10th Kentucky player to appear in a game for the Heat. No other college has seen more of its players get onto the floor with Miami; Duke and Syracuse each have eight. The nickname Bam - his given name is Edrice - came from when he watched the Flintstones as a child and somehow managed to turn over a coffee table.
The Heat went 41-41 last season, missing the playoffs despite winning 30 of their final 41 games. Adebayo is expected to be in Miami to begin workouts with the Heat summer league team next week.
He wasn't even sure where he was going until a few moments before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called his name.
''They kept it from me,'' Adebayo said. ''It was a surprise. My agent was like, `I'm not going to tell you.' I let it soak in for like a minute, and it was wonderful.''
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