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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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‘I was wanted here, and I was needed’: Isaiah Adams on transferring to UB and scoring 1,000 points

Adams, who entered the transfer portal last week, was a reliable leader for the men’s basketball team

<p>Isaiah Adams, No. 23, transferred to UB for his junior season.</p>

Isaiah Adams, No. 23, transferred to UB for his junior season.

Isaiah Adams didn’t have to think long before deciding to play for the Bulls. 

The senior forward spent two seasons with UB after transferring from the University of Central Florida (UCF). He thrived for the Knights during his freshman year, averaging 9.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 46.6% from the field in 22 games. 

His productive debut campaign earned him a spot on the American Athletic Conference (AAC) All-Freshman Team as UCF’s fourth-leading scorer.

But in his sophomore season, his minutes were cut in half. He started just nine of the 27 games he played in. As a result, Adams decided to transfer to UB for his junior year.

“When I was leaving UCF, for the most part, I was just thinking about going where I felt wanted,” Adams said. “They [UB coaching staff] did a good job just coming down to Florida multiple times, and it made me feel like I was wanted here, and I was needed.” 

The switch has been mutually beneficial. In 58 appearances for the Bulls across his two seasons in Buffalo, Adams has started in 57 games while logging over 30 minutes a night, making him a reliable leader for the program. 

“I was always known as someone who talks and always a voice around the team,” Adams said. “I’m always going to be looked at as that type of voice or someone who’s going to talk for the team and continue to carry that on.”

The Jacksonville, Florida native scored 704 points during his time at UB, validating his veteran status with consistent production. He led the team in assists this year, was second in points and placed third in rebounds per game. 

His all-around play was a consistent boost of energy. 

Adams missed five games with an injured ankle this season, the first time he has missed games for the Bulls. Showing his value to the team, UB lost all five games by an average margin of 17 points, giving up at least 80 points in four of those games. 

“I feel like I do a little bit of everything,” Adams said. “Being out there, someone that can tell my teammate, ‘Oh, remember this’ and just being out there to help them on the floor. As long as we’re just out there playing hard together.”

The Bulls stumbled this season to a 4-27 record, but even during a disappointing season, the team still found ways to enjoy it. 

“It would have been easy for the whole team this year to just say, ‘bump it,’ and not want to stay locked in,” Adams said. “We stayed together, we came here everyday for practice and had some fun. You still gotta find that joy and just play basketball because that’s what we’re doing.”

That sense of togetherness helped the team reel off a couple of memorable moments. In a thrilling 82-81 overtime win over the Georgia Southern Eagles on Feb. 10, Adams dropped a team-high 24 points to help UB overcome a near second-half collapse. The momentum helped the team win two out of four games, one of their best stretches of the season. 

“I feel like that game was one where we all just came together as a group,” Adams said. “Obviously, it’s a game where I played well, but as a team, I just felt like I wasn’t worried about me.”

The Georgia Southern win was one of the highlights of the season for Adams, but a March 2 game against the Toledo Rockets might be on top of that list. With 16:47 left to play in the first half, the senior forward slammed home a dunk to give the Bulls a 7-5 advantage for their first and only lead of the game, pushing Adams to 1,000 career points.

“I didn’t know I hit 1,000 until after the game,” Adams said. “They told me, and then my mom took a video of her watching me dunking.” 

Adams’ mom, who lives in Florida, watches all of his games online. She was the one who originally pushed him to play basketball when he was in sixth grade. She knew he had potential. Adams was already playing soccer and baseball, but his mom pushed him to at least try it.

“I was kind of forced to play basketball at first by my mother,” Adams said. 

With the majority of his collegiate career wrapped up, Adams has a decision to make about his future. He has one year of eligibility left but is unsure of whether he will take that final year. As of March 26, Adams has entered the transfer portal, leaving his future at UB unclear. 

“First off, I’m just trying to graduate, finish out this year, and then I’m going to see what my options will be,” Adams said. “If I work out with [NBA] teams and those go well, then I won’t need to go back and do my fifth year of college.”

Regardless of what the future holds for Adams, he’s learned a lot from this season. Even if he doesn’t return to suit up for the Bulls again, he’s still thankful for the two seasons he’s spent at UB. 

“This year, you can look down on it, or you can try and find some type of positive from it and try and grow,” Adams said. “I feel like I’ve grown in different ways, to be more of a leader, more mature and trying to polish my game in different ways.”

Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at henry.daley@ubspectrum.com  


HENRY DALEY
henry-daley.jpg

Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor at The Spectrum. His work has featured on other platforms such as Medium and Last Word on Sports. Outside of the newspaper, he enjoys running and watching sports (when he’s not writing about them). 

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