Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Today, we feature #22 Peyton Aldridge.
It is really easy to be overlooked when you play on the same team as Jack Gibbs. However, with all eyes on the Wildcat’s point guard, Peyton Aldridge has still been able to make a name for himself as one of the best forwards in the Atlantic Ten – good for #22 in our overall rankings. The Davidson big man scoffed at the concept of a “sophomore slump”, and proceeded to have an even better season than his freshman campaign. Davidson fans should be counting their blessings that they get to have Aldridge on the court for two more seasons.
Peyton Aldridge was a steady post presence for Davidson last season who just turned in consistent performances one after another. To put this into perspective, Aldridge scored in double figures on 26 different occasions last season. Even with this consistency, Aldridge showcased that he too has the ability to break out and put up some monster numbers, which Richmond learned last season.
After two good games against the Spiders his freshman year, Peyton Aldridge once again hit his stride against Richmond in 2016. After dropping a road contest to St. Louis, Davidson was reeling a bit coming into a big road game against Richmond. So what did Peyton Aldridge decide to do? Just drop a casual career high 34 points on 11-15 shooting. The Wildcats would go on to win by 8. In this game, Aldridge was so devastatingly destructive in the paint and in transition that all Richmond could seemingly do was foul him or give up a basket – Peyton was 11 of 13 from the line that day.
A month later, Davidson was coming off a heart breaking road loss to George Mason, and had to face Richmond at home (I think we can all see where this is heading). With a depleted squad, Peyton Aldridge once again stepped up against the Spiders and once again delivered an efficient performance (9 of 13 from the field, 4-4 from the line), scoring 24 points and grabbing 7 boards on the way to another huge Wildcat victory.
However, Peyton can do more than just score against Richmond. In the second game of the season against College of Charleston, Aldridge scored 33 points and willed Davidson to a 1 point victory behind some clutch second half play. He filled it up in Brooklyn at the conference tournament as well, scoring 27 points against La Salle, and following that up with 17 points and 10 rebounds against St. Bonaventure. Peyton Aldridge is an incredibly efficient scoring machine.
Aldridge averaged 15.5 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest. This scoring ability combined with his aforementioned efficiency gave Peyton the 4th best offensive efficiency rating in the conference. He also boasts top ten marks in turnover rate and free throw percentage within the conference. Perhaps one of the most impressive (and hopeful for Davidson fans) stats is Peyton’s three point percentage against conference opponents: after a cold start to the year from behind the arc, Aldridge shot 42% in conference, which ranks fourth among qualifying shooters.
Peyton Aldridge has an efficient way of scoring both in the paint, in transition, and from three. He’s consistent and clutch from the free throw line, and his defensive work-rate is unrivaled – often giving up size and still coming up with the ball. Last season Peyton played 86.2% of Davidson’s available minutes, and I think all Wildcats fans can agree that they are glad to have him for two more years.
Previously: #23 Shevon Thompson