Freshman forward Bam Adebayo became the third Kentucky basketball freshman to earn recognition on the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame preseason watch lists for player of the year awards for respective positions. Adebayo was one of 20 players selected to watch for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which honors the top center in the nation.
Named after Naismith Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA champion Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its third year recognizes the top centers in menâs college basketball.Â A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.
Adebayo, who was named to the preseason All-Southeastern Conference Team on Wednesday, was the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 18.9 points and 13.0 rebounds for High Point Christian Academy as a senior. He was an All-USA Boys Basketball Second Team selection and a McDonaldâs All American Game Morgan Wootten Player of the Year finalist. He led High Point to an appearance in the state title game, while also earning selection to the McDonaldâs All American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic.
The 6-foot-10 forward was ranked in the top 10 by ESPN (No. 5) and Rivals (No. 7). He was listed as Scoutâs No. 11 overall player and 247Sports ranked him at No. 12.
Kentucky begins its season tonight in the annual Blue-White Game at Rupp Arena at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Blue-White Game are still available. 200-level tickets are $5. The game will also air live on the SEC Network.
Earlier this week, DeâAaron Fox was named to the Bob Cousy Award Watch List, which recognizes the top point guard, while Malik Monk was among candidates for the Jerry West Award, which awards the best shooting guard.
Abdul-Jabbar played for legendary coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1966-69. He is a three-time NCAA champion who earned numerous accolades, including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First Team All-America honors (1967-1969).
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed down to just 10.Â In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fameâs selection committee.Â The winner of the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles, on April 7. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.
Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Jakob Poeltl from Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky of Wisconsin (2015).
Walter Cornett, of Glendale, Kentucky, is the owner and operator of Walterâs Wildcat World. He founded WildcatWorld.com in 1998 making it one of the oldest Kentucky basketball fan sites in operation today.