Adams Leads Baylor Into State Tournament
March 12, 2005
Adams leads Baylor into state By Stephen Hargis Prep Editor
There is little debate that Jonathan Adams is Baylor's most talented basketball player of the last quarter century. There is even less argument that he is one of the nicest guys ever to play for the Red Raiders.
Adams is a wonderfully talented 6-foot-6, 215-pound player who is just as comfortable pulling up for an outside shot as he is playing in the post. But the Old Dominion University signee begins to fidget when asked to talk about himself. "He's proven he's a great player and one with an attitude that's more about team than himself," said Baylor coach Austin Clark, who noted that Adams was the first player to sign a Division I-A college scholarship in Clark's 23 years with the program. "That's what I like about him so much -- his unselfishness. "He could have much gaudier stats, but he's unselfish. He knows we've got other players who can score, and that just makes us a tougher team." Adams averages 21 points and 10.3 rebounds per game and is a finalist for the Division II Mr. Basketball award.
He will lead Baylor (19-6 ) against Harding Academy today at 5:45 p.m. Eastern time in the quarterfinals of the D-II state tournament at Lipscomb University. If the Red Raiders win, they likely will face two-time defending state champion Brentwood Academy in a Friday rematch of a two-point game won by the Eagles earlier this season. It was in that game that Adams proved his potential at the college level.
Playing against Brentwood Academy's 10 all-everything Brandan Wright, Adams more than held his own, scoring 11 of his team-high 20 points in the second half. For the season, Wright has made nearly 70 percent of his shots from the field, but he made just 40 percent against Baylor. Adams used his strength to keep the nation's No. 2 junior, as rated by Rivals.com, from getting position.
"I was more impressed with how we played Brentwood Academy as a team than anything I did," said Adams, whose mother, Priscilla Morgan, played collegiately at North Carolina State. "I just try to play within what I know I can do and not take any unnecessary shots. If I'm one-on-one inside, I'll drive, but I'm not going to try to split a double team. I have confidence in our other shooters to find them. "Last year the game kind of slowed down for me. Coach told me a couple of years ago that great players play at a different speed. I know what he means now, because I see things open up. It's like everything is going slower and I'm moving faster. I found my rhythm last year." Adams' career became a bit cloudy, however, just after his junior season -- during track last spring.
Having already high-jumped 6-8, he was attempting to set the school record by clearing 6-10 1/4. But as he planted, he heard a pop and knew immediately something was wrong. "I knew my foot was broken," Adams said. "I was more worried about how long I would be out, because I knew summer camps are when a lot of college coaches see you play and judge you." Before the injury, Adams was being recruited by Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Western Kentucky. But as he missed several All-America summer camps, those schools backed off.
In mid-July when he was healthy enough to attend the Nike All-America camp, he performed well enough to attract recruiting attention from James Madison, Rice and Florida, but he said he felt more comfortable at Old Dominion because of the possibility of immediate playing time. "His best basketball is in front of him," Clark said. "He really became a complete player this year. He can go out and defend on the perimeter or in the post. If you double-team him, he'll kick it outside, and he's a really good passer. He makes everybody else around him better. "There's a big difference in just being athletic and knowing how to play the game, and he knows how to make plays." E-mail Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org
This story was published Wednesday, March 02, 2005