HOLLYWOOD – Bam Adebayo knows exactly what every NBA prospect is going through.
One year ago, the Miami Heat center was nervously awaiting the NBA draft, which will be held Thursday. Finally, 14 picks in, he heard his name called and his life changed.
Now, Adebayo, who turns 21 next month, is working religiously to improve his game with former NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace twice a week and with his Heat teammates at the team’s practice facility. He will be part of the Heat’s summer league teams in Sacramento Las Vegas with games starting July 2.
On Wednesday, Adebayo was a guest of former Heat coach and broadcaster Tony Fiorentino at the Heat basketball camp at South Broward High School.
We caught up with Adebayo for our latest offseason Q&A and talked about the draft, his offseason and received an update on Heat guard Dion Waiters, who underwent ankle surgery in January.
Q: You said you are working on your midrange game. Do you think you can morph into the modern big man with the way the game has changed?
Adebayo: “Yeah. Being versatile is a big thing for the Miami Heat. I’m willing to do that.”
Q: You’ve been working with Rasheed Wallace. How did you hook up with him?
Adebayo: “I’ve known Rasheed since my junior year of high school. We’ve worked out and just kept getting better. It’s not the first time me and Rasheed worked out. His work outs are pretty short and sweet. They’re to the point.”
Q: What did he work with you on?
Adebayo: “Just staying balanced. Everything I do with the Miami Heat, just being explosive and getting to your spots quickly.”
Q: What are you working on with the Heat?
Adebayo: “Everything. My whole arsenal. … Midrange game, low post, becoming a better player.”
Q: You said Dion Waiters has been involved in your pickup game today in Miami. How has he been looking?
Adebayo:” “He’s looking good to me. You can tell he’s been in the gym because he’s been working.”
Q: What will this team look like with Dion?
Adebayo “It can’t do anything but make us better. I feel like Dion has another unbelievable ceiling to him. So, we’re just going to keep working and every will reach their potential.”
Q: Going on vacation this summer?
Adebayo: “I went back home, that’s about it. I got to see the family, had a family reunion.”
Q: So it’s business the whole summer?
Adebayo: “Yeah, the whole summer.”
Q: What is the biggest thing you wanted to improve on from your rookie season?
Adebayo: “Be more offensive minded and aggressive. Last year I kind of sat back and looked at everybody else. They want me to be more assertive.”
Q: What’s your mentality this offseason? Did James Johnson rub off on you?
Adebayo: “I’ve always had that work ethic, just trying to get better, get one percent better. I’m trying to do that for the team and for myself.”
Q: Just about a year ago when your life changed when you were selected by the Heat in the draft. Ever think back what the last year has been like?
Adebayo: “Yeah. It’s been a wild experience. All the time I look back at it. Just building bonds from a year ago is unbelievable.”
Q: What is it like for the guys who will go through it (Thursday)?
Adebayo: “Nerve wracking. Just going through all that because it’s a process. It’s like a marathon so you build up to it. To finally get your name called it’s like a weight off your shoulders. But then you know, you’re right back to business.”
Q: You said were close to tears on draft night last year, how close?
Adebayo: “Yeah, but I had to hurry and get off the stage. So, after I got off the court I was straight.”
Q: You came out of Kentucky after one season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the one-and-done might end in 2021, do you feel it worked out before for you?
Adebayo: “I’m glad it worked out the way it did. I got to experience college for that one year. So, it was great to me. Some guys can go straight to the NBA.”
Q: Did you see Hassan Whiteside in the Lamborghini in Italy on Instagram? Did you question how he fit into a Lamborghini?
Adebayo: “Uh, no, not really. He has his ways of doing stuff. I texted him about, ‘Why are you in a Lamborghini?’ He was like, ‘I’m just out here enjoying my life,’ which he should. He deserves it. So, we’re just seeing him enjoy his life.”