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St. Bonaventure junior Jaylen Adams emerging as one of the best guards in the nation

You can look to the ACC, Big Ten, Big East, or anywhere else to find the best guard in college basketball, but you may not have to look any further than the Atlantic 10. Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure’s stud junior guard, has been on an absolute tear this season, and for those of you who don’t pay much attention to mid-major basketball, he’s one of the nation’s best kept secrets. Adams has steadily improved each season in Olean, and as he tries to carry his team to a double-bye in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, he’s got a great shot at A-10 Player of the Year as well.

Let’s look at some stats. Adams is averaging 21.6 points and 6.6 assists per game, both of which lead the conference. Jaylen Adams does just about everything else for this team as well. He’s directly involved in 28.6% of the Bonnies’ possessions, which is the 4th highest in the conference. Whenever Adams is on the floor, he’s making positive plays. He’s got the 4th best steal percentage in the A-10, and he’s great at getting to the free throw line as well. Adams ranks 2nd in the conference in fouls drawn per 40 minutes, and he converts at the free throw line 82.5% of the time. Needless to say, Jaylen Adams is as efficient as he is talented.

Perhaps the intangible quality that makes Jaylen Adams such a dynamic player is leadership. St. Bonaventure, coming off an impressive 22-9 season that featured a near NCAA Tournament bid, lost quite a bit of talent to graduation. Senior leaders Marcus Posley and Dion Wright seemed difficult to replace, and pretty much no one expected St. Bonaventure to be as good this year as it was the last. While that holds true, it’s not like this season has been much of a pushover for the Bonnies. This team has a pretty solid shot of reaching 20 wins yet again (something that’s only been done twice in the last decade), and unless the Bonnies go on a tear and win the A-10 Tournament in Pittsburgh, they’ll probably be pretty satisfied with a return trip to the NIT.

Jaylen Adams has been the biggest factor behind St. Bonaventure’s success. He, along with head coach Mark Schmidt, is beginning to show the nation that the Bonnies deserve to be treated like a consistently-good mid-major program. They’ve been making strides in the right direction. Jaylen Adams had arguably his best performance of the season on the road against Dayton. The Bonnies had control for a majority of the contest, and though the Flyers came back and secured the victory, Jaylen Adams was the best player on the floor. His 35 points were a career-high, and even when it looked like Dayton was going to win, Adams hit some big shots towards the end of regulation to make the game a bit more interesting. Exhibit A:

Sure, it’s just one shot and one big performance, but this is exactly what this basketball team needs: a fearless player who can turn the direction of this program for the better. Jaylen Adams has become the go-to-guy without seniors Marcus Posley and Dion Wright in Olean. He’s the guy Mark Schmidt trusts with the ball in his hands. He’s the reason St. Bonaventure has been relevant in a confusing Atlantic 10 league this year.

The sky’s the limit for the junior Jaylen Adams. I don’t believe this team will be in the NCAA Tournament, but you never know what’s going to happen in Pittsburgh. If there’s any player in the league that you’d want at the helm of your team going into the A-10 Tournament, it’s gotta be Jaylen Adams. He’s as complete of a player as they come, and the guy is only a junior. Continue to expect great things from this rising star.

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Grant Labedz is a college basketball superfan who loves the entire sport but definitely has favorites in the A-10 and the Big Ten. He has written for ...