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 the sophomore Phenom, Saint Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams.
Coming into last season, many believed sophomore point guard Jaylen Adams would take a step forward after an impressive first year with the Bonnies. However, no one could predict coming off a broken hand that Adams would ascend to one of the best guards in the A-10.
Adams had plenty of solid outings this past season for the Bonnies. However — two performances in particular stand out above the rest. Last year, Adams showed up big in the toughest games as he scored 30+ points against both A-10 powerhouses Saint Joseph’s and Dayton — both coming on the road.
Against Joes, Adams put on a shooting clinic hitting 10 shots, his most all year, and draining six three pointers. He also dished seven assists and snagged three steals, helping the Bonnies win 83-73.
Later in the season, he again provided a spark for the Bonnies. After a deflating loss to bottom-feeder La Salle, the Bonnies had a tough task ahead, as they played the Dayton Flyers in the confines of UD Arena. In a performance for the ages, Adams shined scoring 31 points, shooting 55% from beyond the arc, diming six assists and grabbing six boards. Adams’ solid performance helped the Bonnies beat the Flyers for the first time in UD Arena since 2002, 79-72.
Adams set himself apart this year by becoming a consistent scoring option at 17.9 points-per-game. He also showed off his incredible range as a three point shooter. In fact, Adams led the league at just under 44%.
While his offensive game made huge strides, his defensive game also improved substantially last season. Adams picked pockets regularly, recording steals in 24 of 30 games.
Adams grew into his own as a leader last season for the Bonnies. Forced into a three-headed monster role along with seniors Marcus Posley and Dion Wright, Adams regularly came up clutch for the Bonnies.
With 15 seconds left, tied in a pivotal game against cellar-dweller Saint Louis, Adams arguably saved the Bonnies’ season, draining a buzzer-beating 24-foot three point shot to lift the Bonnies over the Billikens 65-62.
All eyes will be on Adams next season as he will have a chance to finish as the top player in the A-10. Coming off a first-team all A-10 nod and national attention coming from his inclusion on Sports Illustrated’s ten most surprising players in college basketball, expectations will be high for the incoming junior.
He won’t have the leadership of the aforementioned Wright and Posley to lean on, as he transitions to becoming the go-to-guy and leader of the Bonnies. However, given his track record — he’s ready for the challenge.
Previously #4 Melvin Johnson
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