By Josh Svetz
One of the biggest positives for the Bonnies last season was sophomore guard Jaylen Adams.
Despite only being a freshman, Adams earned the starting point guard position for the Bonnies, averaging 10 points per game, 2.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 22 games along with earning A-10 Rookie of the Week honors multiple times.
Of course, Adams would have played in more games if it weren’t for a finger injury he suffered in February that held him out the remainder of the season.
After a tough rehab, a relieved Adams said the finger is feeling fine, and he’s itching to get back on the court.
“It feels great to be honest,” said Adams. “I’m just ready to get back out there.”
Once the rehab process was over, Adams got right back to working on his game.
“I put in a lot of work over the summer,” said Adams. “I’m still putting in work, and I’m extremely prepared for the season.
“I’m excited and I’m ready to get it underway.”
Two weeks ago, Adams got a chance to test out his finger in a scrimmage against Kent State.
In his first game action since the injury, he lit up the scoreboard with 26 points, draining seven three-pointers. He followed that up with a great performance in the exhibition game against Mansfield, scoring 19.
“We’d been practicing for a couple months without a game, so that was probably the roughest thing we’d done so far,” said Adams.
“Getting back out there was exciting to do. I was pumped up, and I’ll be even more pumped up for the first game.”
St. Bonaventure men’s head coach Mark Schmidt saw no traces of rust in Adams’s game in the scrimmage.
“The injury has no bearing,” said Schmidt. “He’s playing like he did last year, with a lot of confidence.
“He’s stronger than he was last year. He’s going to be a good player.”
With the injury behind him, Adams has a few challenges ahead still, including transitioning from being the young gun with limited expectations to one of the top players on the team. However, he’s been groomed by former teammates like Youssou Ndoye as well as seniors Marcus Posley and Dion Wright.
“(Youssou)’s my man,” said Adams. “This year, it’s Marcus and Dion. They’re the old guys, and they’ve definitely helped me in every facet of life. They’re my big brothers.”
With help from Wright and Posley, Schmidt is expecting Adams to take a big leap this season.
“Just like every player, he has to take that next step,” said Schmidt. “If he didn’t break his finger, he would’ve been all-league freshman, and now he’s going to be a first or second team all-league player. We’re confident he can take that next step.”
Other challenges Adams and the team will be facing include replacing the production the aforementioned Ndoye brought the Bonnies in the paint and playing the majority of the season without second-year forward Jordan Tyson. Despite the supposed lack of depth in the front court, he’s not too worried about finding guys in the paint.
“Dion’s still going to be out there,” said Adams. “Denzel (Gregg) is going to be out there. We’ve got freshmen in Derrick (Woods) and LaDarien (Griffin), so whoever’s down there.”
As for CBS Sports’ prediction of the Bonnies finishing ninth in the conference, Adams is looking to prove them wrong.
“That’s fuel right there,” said Adams. “Every year, they place us below eighth, ten, eleven, and every year we seem to do better than it.
“This is the highest it’s been so far, so hopefully we can make it even higher and get that top seed.”
Adams and company will be facing an uphill battle this season, but are ready to step up to the challenge.