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 continue our countdown with #3 Jaylen Adams
Jaylen Adams entered his junior season with lofty expectations. Following a year in which he earned an All A-10 First Team selection, lead the Bonnies to their best season in years, and received an invite to the Adidas Nations Camp, Jay was again lauded with another preseason First Team selection, a spot on the Wooden Award top 50 list, and a position on the preseason honorable mention All-American team. Although there were times where he seemed to disappear, with the departures of Dion Wright and Marcus Posley, Adams carried a huge portion of the team this season.
In the first game of the conference season, Adams torched UMass for 29 points. It was a complete performance, with Jay shooting from the onset of the game. He was 9-15 from the field, 4-7 from three, and 7-7 from the line, making it his best overall shooting day. The only thing keeping him in check was foul trouble, and without it, he would have very likely scored over 30.
Undoubtedly, Jay’s best performance of the season came at Dayton. Playing the full 40 minutes, Jay dropped 35 points, and added six assists. This was following a 31 point showing at Dayton (ranked 13th at the time) last year that lead the Bonnies to a huge upset victory. After an early lead quickly dissolved, Jay was responsible for keeping them in the game, from behind the arc, and the free throw line. There was no chance for a late game winner in this one though, since the Bonnies were down 5 with under 5 seconds left.
But Jay still did this…
Just wow, Jay.
This long three give the junior 35 points.
Dayton at the line to shoot two with one second left. pic.twitter.com/66XZsB7YBP
— Bonnies MBB (@BonniesMBB) February 18, 2017
24.5-Adams player efficiency rating, good for fourth best in the conference. Adams may have been the most important offensive player in the league, With the highest offensive win shares (4.1), points produced per game (21.4), and offensive box plus/minus (7.8).
206- When Adams couldn’t find his shot, he still managed to produce points, making 206 free throws, the most in the league for the season.
6.5-Perhaps more than anything else, Jay really improved on his passing this year. His 6.5 apg, almost a full assist higher than any other player, could have been even better had his big men been able to finish under the hoop. Other teams tried to expose his passing by putting him in a double team at the top of the key every time he touched the ball. But Jay’s ability to make accurate passes either forced the defense cover all five guys, or gave the Bonnies open looks.
Jay was anything but selfish. Most Bonnie’s fans biggest complaint was that Adams didn’t shoot enough, especially early in games. Often, the early offense for the Bonnies would be nonexistent, leaving them in a hole they would spend the rest of the game trying to claw out of. Any looks a shooter like Jay can get during these stagnant possessions are good ones. Adams will test the NBA waters this summer by entering his name into draft consideration without signing an agent. All signs point towards a return next season, where Adams will likely be a frontrunner for the POY award. Bona is no longer a place where you can slip entirely under the radar. Scouts know who Jay is; they’ve come to see him play. Now it’ll be up to his senior season performance to decide how far he, and the Bonnies, will go.
Previously: #4 Tyler Cavanaugh