Miami Heat players Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro were both NBA draft lottery picks.
Both have become key contributors early in their careers. Both also attended the University of Kentucky.
They feel their college choice has played a role in the success. The quick development of Herro and Adebayo are a big reason why the Heat are playing the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
Game 1 is Tuesday in Orlando.
"I feel like when you go to Kentucky and you're built the way you're supposed to be built, I feel like you can make it anywhere in this association," Adebayo said. "Going from Kentucky to Miami, they're kind of similar. Just different levels. When we drafted Tyler, everybody was asking me questions. I was like, `He'll be ready."
Adebayo made his first All-Star game after averaging career highs in points, rebounds and assists. He has produced 16.2 points, 11.7 points and 4.8 assists a game in the postseason. Herro may have been in the Rookie of the Year conversation if not for a midseason ankle injury that caused him to miss 15 games. He is averaging 14.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in the playoffs.
The Heat have always had an interest in Kentucky players. Team president Pat Riley was a standout with the Wildcats before his NBA career. Coach Erik Spoelstra recently gave credit to Kentucky coach John Calipari for developing professional talent. A league-high 29 former UK players were on NBA rosters when the season started.
“We love what Cal does,” Spoelstra in a radio interview with SiriusXM NBA radio earlier this year. “I’ve been up there a few times, just to see how he does his program. We like talking shop and everything. But he’s going to coach you hard. They’re going to spend a lot of time with player development. They’re not going to treat you with kid gloves because of whatever you were ranked in high school.”
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