ST. BONAVENTURE — His name is starting to appear as regularly in this space now as it did when he was still at St. Bonaventure. That’s because Jaylen Adams continues to make headlines at the professional level.
The TH ran steady updates on Adams’ rookie season, in which he starred with the G League’s Erie Bayhawks and played 34 games with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. It chronicled his tremendous first half this year with the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ minor league team, and his selection to the G-League All-Star Team.
It noted how the 6-foot-2 point guard, in February, earned a spot on the US’s FIBA AmeriCup 2021 qualifying team. And only now has Adams notched perhaps his biggest post-Bona accomplishment yet.
The former Bona standout placed second in the G League’s Most Valuable Player award voting for the 2019-20 season, league officials announced Thursday. He finished behind only Herd teammate Frank Mason III, who took MVP honors as voted on by the league’s 28 head coaches and general managers.
The accolades come nine days after Adams was named the G League’s top player and a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year by Ridiculous Upside.
THE BALTIMORE native had a tremendous first “full” year in the G-League, averaging 21.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds while leading Wisconsin to a league-best 33-10 record in a season that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was notably efficient, shooting 49 percent from the field, including 41 percent from 3-point range, while also establishing himself as one of the league’s best defensive guards.
Adams, it seems, had the kind of year that would deem him worthy of another crack at making a full-time NBA roster.
The 2018 Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Year was the G League’s Player of the Month in January before earning all-star honors and MVP consideration. In that stretch, he scored in double figures in all 10 games, including six 20-plus-point efforts, highlighted by a 39-point outburst against Grand Rapids.
Even as a fringe NBA player, however, Adams has done well for himself financially. By maxing out his time with the Hawks in 2018-19, he made the full value of his initial two-way contract, or around $236,854. This year, as a priority G Leaguer, he reportedly made around $100,000.
— Adams wasn’t the only former Bona standout to land in the news this week for his play at the pro level. On Wednesday, Youssou Ndoye made a significant career move by signing with Real Bettis of Liga ACB, the top division in Spain.
The 7-foot man big man played the previous four years in France, winning a Pro B championship with JL Bourg-en-Bresse in 2017 and leading the Pro A league in rebounding with Nanterre 92 in 2019-20. He parlayed that strong showing into a deal with Liga ACB, one of the best pro leagues in the world outside of the NBA.
— Steve Curran made mention of it in an interview with the TH earlier this month: The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team, above all else, emphasizes being part of a family when recruiting.
“People think (Bona) is a hard sell,” the longtime assistant coach noted, “but it’s really not if you can find kids who want the kind of atmosphere and opportunities that we think we have here.”
One of the Bonnies’ top players, Osun Osunniyi, underscored that fact while talking about what guided him to Bona as a highly sought after prospect in the spring of 2018.
“(It was) that home feeling,” Osunniyi, who memorably spurned Syracuse and Georgetown for Bona, said on the SBUnfurled and Friends podcast in early June. “I’ve always been around home, I was never really away from home, so I wanted to go to a place where I felt comfortable and felt like I wouldn’t be homesick. So Bona, I got that feeling of being at home.”
He recalled of his official visit: “I met Courtney (Stockard), LD (LaDarien Griffin) and Amadi (Ikpeze) and … they treated me like I was already a player on the team. I didn’t get treated like a young guy, it was just a really good feeling ...
“I never got to watch a game (in person), but before Bona even recruited me, I remember, I was scrolling through my TV and I actually saw the Davidson game and the Rhode Island (from 2018), and I’m like, ‘that’s a packed house, these are really good games.’”
After making his official visit upon decommitting from La Salle, the 6-foot-10 center realized quickly that Bona made for the best fit.
“(Coach Mark) Schmidt called me, Coach Curran; I had already played with Kyle (Lofton) at prep school,” he recalled. “I was like, ‘yeah, this is the place for me. When I committed, the amount of love I got from the fans over Twitter and everyone just supporting me was a great feeling.”
And that’s how he’d pitch the Bona program to other potential recruits.
“It’s an at-home feeling,” he reiterated. “Everyone knows you and the town and the games. It’s a really, really good experience.”