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, as voted by our staff. Today, we feature #12 Jon Axel Gudmundsson.
One of three A-10 teams to make the big dance, the Wildcats of Davidson certainly had a lot to be proud of in 2017-18, especially considering their 5-7 record in non-conference play in a slow start to the season. Of course, everyone knows the tandem of Aldridge and Grady, but we can’t forget about the large impact of Jon Axel Gudmundsson, a sneaky X-Factor during the ‘Cats campaign. After a strong freshman showing, he improved in all assets of the game: increasing his averages in points, rebounds, and assists from a year ago. Not to forget, he was also able to set the tempo for the Wildcats, allowing them to get into that Davidson flow that we all know about. Let’s take a look at our #12 player in the countdown.
His best game, statistically speaking, was the Wildcats’ first game, a game in which they put up 110 points (surprisingly not their season high). Gudmundsson finished the game with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. He showed early on that he was going to be a player to fear offensively this season, and he continued to fill the stat sheet as the season continued.
And as Davidson got down to the home stretch, he put on his best performances of the year. In the conference tournament semifinals against St. Bonaventure, he had a very strong game for Davidson. While he only posted 9 points, he also dished out 8 assists and did not have a single turnover. Yes, Grady and Aldridge put up the big numbers scoring wise in this one, but Gudmundsson was the one who set the tempo and opened up the many opportunities that they saw. He also hit the game-winner at home against Rhode Island to close the regular season, arguably the biggest shot of Jon Axel Gudmundson’s career to this date.
Then again in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Kentucky, he showed that he can compete with big athletic guards. He finished the game with 21 points, including 6 3-pointers. Jon stepped up when the spotlight was on the Wildcats, and the hot A-10 Champions almost pulled the upset in Boise.
Throughout his best performances, Jon Axel Gudmundsson not only showed his skill but also his versatility in stuffing the stat sheet. Rebounding, scoring, and passing all come fairly easily to the rising junior.
11– Number of games with 1 or fewer turnovers. As the main facilitator and orchestrator of the offense, this was huge to the success of Davidson this season. He was able to run the offense at a high efficiency, and avoiding multiple turnovers was key, especially considering that he averaged over 35 minutes per game this season. This also took a lot of pressure off of Kellan Grady, and allowed for both these guys to have success.
8– Games with 19 or more points. A lot of people overlooked how good of a scorer Gudmundsson can be when he needed to be. He most definitely has the ability, it was just not his role on the team this season, which again shows his amazing versatility. He understood that Aldridge and Grady were the scorers, and made sure to facilitate to them, while still posting a solid 13 points per game.
Gudmundsson has shown solid improvement throughout his first two seasons with Davidson, and I expect him to continue to improve. Now that Aldridge is gone, he will be asked to do even more scoring, which he most definitely can do. The best of Jon Axel Gudmundsson has yet to come, and that is something that Davidson fans can, and should get excited about.
Previously: #13 Courtney Stockard