When Jalen Adams took the court this past July, he served notice time and time again that he deserved a place among the country's most touted prospects and rose to No. 26 in the 2015 class.
But that didn't always appear to be the case. Adams identified himself early, mind you, picking up offers from Connecticut, Providence and Kansas State during his sophomore season. From a national standpoint, however, he still did not carry significant cachet.
He toured the 2013 travel circuit and began to generate greater momentum. By the midpoint of his junior season he'd attracted new offers from Minnesota, Rhode Island, Creighton and Georgia Tech, among others. His scoring prowess had become clear and he was primed to show out even hotter during the 2014 spring and summer.
And Adams did just that, at times scintillating versus elite competition. He impressed at the Adidas Gauntlet event in Indianapolis, Peach State Showcase in Augusta, Ga., and out in Las Vegas in late July.
By then, however, he'd already ended his recruitment. Adams pledged to the reigning national champion Huskies in late June and is a key win for UConn, which needs to cash in on its 2013-14 NCAA tournament triumph.
Adams is a scorer who gets it done with athleticism, skill and toughness. He boasts a quick first step and excellent body control, appearing to be on balance and ready to shoot even when weaving through congested spaces. He has good touch even on the move and uses the glass effectively, particularly when driving to his right.
He also shoots a nice looking perimeter jump shot that has range past the three-point arc. He has multiple tools he utilizes to create, including one-on-one crossovers and stepbacks. His is a mature, polished scoring game.
And yet he still manages to compete with an edge. Though highly refined with a lot of weapons, Adams' game doesn't feel pre-programmed. He responds proactively to changing inputs, such as a closing shotblocker or helpside guard looking to strip the ball on his drive. He keeps his head up to make nice, simple dishes to open teammates. While he's no natural point guard in terms of running an offense, at the minimum he must considered a combo with high versatility.
|Adams should among the AAC's best newcomers in 2015-16|
He's very good in transition and loves to use a change of speed, step-through on the break, yet he also looks comfortable firing shots off a high ball screen.
I regard him as a potentially excellent defender as well. He's quick and rangy to defend many (though not all) point guards and strong enough to guard most college wings.
Adams also is a tough competitor who values what's happening on the scoreboard, not just the numbers he piles up on the stat sheet.
We call him a combo, others might consider him a 'tweener. Adams is very small for the wing by professional standards, so long-term he'll likely need to prove he can play point despite the fact that he's wired to score far more than he is to be a playmaker.
Meanwhile, he's less of a stationary burst player than one who's quickest when he's already in motion. That's a fine distinction, but not a meaningless one.
Not surprisingly for such a big scorer, he also can get loose with his shot selection at times and will need to adjust the volume level when suits up for Kevin Ollie.
By the by, few guards in the senior class possess as much impact potential. There are more rounded players and guys who feature superior height/skill ratios for the long term, but Adams will be ready to compete and produce out of the box.
Scoring has taken on even more of a premium in a college game with lower and lower point totals, and especially in the NCAA tournament. Adam has the talent and plays with the style to become a future March Madness hero. He's a stellar pickup for the Huskies.