BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After helping Kentucky win its 48th regular-season Southeastern Conference crown, freshman forward Bam Adebayo was named the league’s top-performing freshman on Monday for a second straight week.
Adebayo provided a consistent presence for the Cats in two historic comeback victories this week. He logged 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals per game in wins over Vanderbilt and Texas A&M.
The Little Washington, North Carolina, native began the week with 16 points and six boards as Kentucky overcame a 19-point deficit – the largest comeback by the Wildcats since Feb. 22, 1997 — for a 73-67 win over the Commodores.
Adebayo was magnificent in the full-court press, coming up with two steals and a block to aid the Wildcat surge. He also scored 10 of his 16 points after the break and was 6 of 7 from the free-throw line in the decisive second half.
Kentucky found itself in familiar territory on the road at Texas A&M in its quest to clinch the SEC title outright. The Aggies jumped out to a 15-point first-half advantage, but the Cats wasted little time in mounting a comeback and taking a lead before halftime. Kentucky would eventually prevail for a 71-63 win, marking the largest comeback on the road in the Calipari era.
Adebayo scored 13 points and added a team-high eight rebounds. He also posted two blocks and an assist, while playing a team-high 36 minutes. He was 6 of 7 from the field for the game and had four offensive rebounds as UK logged a game-high 11 second-chance points.
UK’s freshman big man has been sensational in the Wildcats’ eight-game winning streak to end the regular season. Adebayo has averaged 11.2 rebounds per game over his last five games. He has pulled down at least six during the eight-game winning streak. He has also reached double figures in scoring in six of the eight games.
For the week, Adebayo led the team in rebounding and field-goal percentage. He was third on the team in scoring and second in both blocks and steals for the week.
Kentucky has now won the SEC Freshman of the Week a league-leading eight times this season. Adebayo’s honor is the second of his career and the 11th weekly award of the season for the Wildcats, most in the conference.
The Wildcats begin SEC Tournament action on Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. Kentucky will take on the winner of Tennessee-Georgia in Bridgestone Arena at 1 p.m. ET. The game is slated to air live on the SEC Network.