Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top Pre-Season Top 25 Player Countdown for the 2016-17 season. Each day, we’ll be publishing a new article counting down our best 25 players for the coming season. Today, we feature #2 Jaylen Adams of St. Bonaventure.
What He’s Done:
A late addition to the Bonnies as a two-star recruit, junior guard Jaylen Adams has shocked the world and blown away expectations. After a solid freshman year marred by injury, Adams silenced any doubters with a terrific sophomore campaign.
In 2015, Adams improved in every major statistical category including an almost eight point jump to his scoring at 17.9 points per game (PPG). He also became the deadliest shooter in the conference at a league leading 43.8% finishing 16th in the NCAA overall. He ended up shooting better than guys like Arizona’s Gabe York, California’s Jordan Matthews and Duke’s Grayson Allen.
Other than his scoring, his well-rounded improvement helped power the Bonnies to a share of the A-10 regular season title.
But most importantly, his ability in clutch situations got the Bonnies out of some jams.
With 15 seconds left, tied in a pivotal game against cellar-dweller Saint Louis, Adams arguably saved the Bonnies’ season. He drained a buzzer-beating 24-foot three-point shot to lift the Bonnies over the Billikens 65-62.
For Adams season efforts, he finished as an A-10 first team guard and ranked in Sports Illustrated’s top 10 most surprising players. Included with Adams; Providence’s Ben Bentil, Oregon’s Chris Boucher and Kentucky’s Derek Willis.
What He’ll Do.
The sky’s the limit for the Baltimore native.
He’s started to receive some national attention.
Respected basketball analyst and Sports Illustrated writer Seth Davis, called him “America’s best kept secret.”
Though there were initial rumors of him transferring to Texas, he stuck with the Bonnies and is in the running for conference Player of The Year (POTY).
Despite winning 22 games, Adams and the Bonnies couldn’t lock up an NCAA Tournament bid in a historic snub.
This year, expectations are high and fans want justice.
Basically, the Bonnies have a chip on their shoulder and will need some big improvements from Adams to get in the big dance.
A jump to 22-23 ppg isn’t that far-fetched and a boost in defensive production looks guaranteed.
The only real question remaining for Adams — can he handle the spotlight?
Time will tell, but I wouldn’t bet against this kid.
All in all, Adams looks to have another great year with a possible A-10 POTY nod if he reaches his potential.
Previously: #3 Charles Cooke