Welcome to A10 Talk’s Preseason Top 25 Player Countdown for the 2018-19 season. Each day, we’ll be publishing a new article counting down our best 25 players for the coming season, as voted on by our staff of writers. Today, we feature #13 Jon Axel Gudmundsson of Davidson.
What He’s Done
Jon Axel Gudmundsson is a proven winner who has experience on both the NCAA stage and the international stage. At just 21 years old, his resume on the international level includes two Icelandic League Championships, two Icelandic Supercups, an Icelandic Basketball Cup, and earning the U-18 Nordic Championship MVP. After testing the American waters briefly in Philadelphia during his high school campaign, and later going back to Iceland, he returned to the states taking his winning ways to Davidson where he has been a key part of keeping Davidson one of the most competitive schools in the A-10 and one of the most competitive mid-majors in the country year after year.
An oversized guard, Gudmundsson has a skillset that mixes the high-level shooting style of a traditional European player with the grit of an American player. He was a big part of Davidson’s A-10 Championship and return to the NCAA Tournament last season. Raising his averages by five points between his freshman and sophomore seasons as well as raising his assists, rebounds, and lowering his fouls per game, Gudmundsson has displayed constant improvement across the board.
What He’ll Do
Jon Axel is the perfect fit on a team coming off a great season, making him an even more dangerous player coming into 2018-19. While Davidson should face more competition within the A-10, Gudmundsson has continuously improved every facet of his game year to year and is looking at a strong junior year. Gudmundsson’s go-getter mentality sets him up for success anywhere on the floor. Although Davidson lost Peyton Aldridge, they gain redshirt freshman Luke Frampton who Coach Bob McKillop is ecstatic about. Guard, Kellan Grady also will be on hand after a fantastic freshman campaign providing high powered offense.
With such a deep team around him, Gudmunsson doesn’t have the pressure that other A10 players have and will not have to take over the game by himself. Instead, he can contribute in any way he is asked to, whether that’s knocking down three pointers or getting in the paint and grabbing boards. Gudmundsson could see a plateau in scoring due to Grady’s return, guard KiShawn Pritchett’s equally deadly range and Frampton’s promising skillset, but he will most likely continue to rise in all other categories.
One other aspect we can see grow is his leadership. Davidson is a young team this season with only one returning senior in Nathan Ekwu, allowing Gudmundsson to put his vast experience and leadership to use. His successful resume on different stages gives him fantastic credibility among his teammates and should be a great example for the younger players. His heart and hustle should inspire the Wildcats to another successful season not just in the A10, but a return to the NCAA Tournament. While he will face strong competition this season, his consistent play will keep him atop the conference as one of the A10’s best and most versatile players.
Previously: #14 Lamarr Kimble