It’s quite something to watch NBA highlights on any given night and see a couple of players who suited up in high school versus county teams.

Bam Adebayo has shown great improvement for an upstart Miami Heat team that entered Tuesday night tied for the best record in the league at 5-1.

After averaging 6.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.6 blocks in 19.8 minutes per game as a rookie and 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.8 blocks in 23.3 minutes last season, the 6-9, 243-pound center is averaging 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 blocks in 31.5 minutes in his third season.

The former first-round pick out of Kentucky has become a focal point of the Heat offense with the system often running through him.

Through six games this season, Adebayo has 31 assists. Over all of last season, center Hassan Whiteside had 46.

It is among the reasons coach Erik Spoelstra moved Adebayo into the starting lineup last season, and president of basketball operations Pat Riley then moved Whiteside on to the Portland Trail Blazers in the offseason.

Among NBA post players, Adebayo stands second in the league in assists behind only Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic who averages 6.0 assists per game.

The 22-year-old is 14th in the NBA in blocks, 20th in rebounding and 28th in assists.

Adebayo played East Carteret six times as a member of the Northside-Pinetown Panthers. Four of those were 1A Coastal Plains Conference matchups, and the other two came in the playoffs.

East went 6-0 in those games, which is surely something members of those teams will tell their kids about some day. Most of those games weren’t even close. Single digits decided just one contest. Four of the six were decided by more than 20 points. East won by an average of 21 points.

It wasn’t for lack of trying on Adebayo’s part. He averaged 26 points, 22 rebounds, two assists, two steals and four blocks in those six games.

Adebayo averaged 32 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, three steals and five blocks as a junior before transferring to High Point Christian Academy. He averaged 25 points, 20 rebounds, three assists, two steals and four blocks in a three-year varsity career at Northside that spanned 76 games.

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After watching starting guards Steph Curry and D’Angelo Russell go down with injuries, and beginning the year without injured starting guard Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors have turned to Ky Bowman.

After averaging 10.2 minutes in the first five games of the season, the undrafted rookie out of Boston College started and played 39 minutes Saturday versus the Charlotte Hornets, going for 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds, four assist and two steals in a 93-87 loss.

On Monday, the 6-1, 187-pound guard helped the Warriors earn their first win at the new Chase Center with a standout performance that included 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting, eight assists and four rebounds in 37 minutes during a 127-118 victory over the Trail Blazers. Portland features one of the best backcourts in the league with Damian Lillard

and CJ McCollum.

Thompson is expected to miss the entire season after suffering an ACL injury in the NBA Finals last year, and Curry is expected to miss half of the season after breaking his left hand on Oct. 30, so Golden State is likely to lean heavily on Bowman for a young team that has started the year with a 2-5 mark.

Bowman led Havelock to three straight 3A Coastal Conference championships at Havelock with the Rams going 34-2 in league play during those seasons.

He was one of the best players in the state during his final three varsity seasons, averaging 23.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.1 blocks as a senior; 24.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.2 blocks as a junior; and 24.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.6 steals and 1.6 blocks as a sophomore.

Havelock went 8-1 against West Carteret in Bowman’s three years. He averaged 21.7 in those games. Single digits decided five of those contests.

The Rams went 1-4 against East Carteret with Bowman averaging 29.4 points. He put up a triple-double of 31 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in the Rams’ 92-78 win during his last game against the Mariners. He also had 44 points and 15 rebounds in a 93-90 loss against East that season.

Current Mariners coach Daniel Griffee coached Bowman in his last two years at Havelock.

(Send comments or questions to jj@thenewstimes.com or follow him on Twitter @jjsmithccnt.)

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