By LARRY VAUGHT
Freshman Bam Adebayo knows Kentucky fans are counting on his physical toughness next season and says his football background helps him play that way.
“I played football and was a defensive end before giving it up my sophomore year,” Adebayo said. “I liked it and it made me tougher. It made me just handle toughness more. When it is hot outside and you are wearing all that padding, it gets tough. It makes you get tougher.”
Brandon Clifford, Adebayo’s coach at High Point Christian Academy, says Adebayo’s relationship with his mother also drives him to be even better at Kentucky.
“He is not done. Kentucky is just another step in his journey,” Clifford said. “He is a high profile kid that does not intend to be in college long and if all goes well Cal (John Calipari) does not want him to be. For a kid like him, he is not going to stop working to get better. In his mind, he’s not anywhere near a finished product.
“He is driven by using basketball to make his mother’s life better as well as future generations of his family as well. For an 18-year-old kid to have that maturity and approach only helps make him better. He knows how to keep his eye on the prize. He still has something bigger to play for.
“He is in great shape. He was in the gym every day expanding his skill set (before he left for UK). He is now a beast. He came here to get better and he can do more now than when he got here. His shot is coming along, but he knows it still has to get better. He’s around 265, and will be playing around 270, maybe bigger.”