Jalen Adams: UConn Guard Makes Waves With Scoring

Photo courtesy of Stephen Slade.

By David Cordova

The UConn Huskies have had a great history of excellence on the court, especially during their days of dominance in the Big East Conference, with players such as Ray Allen, Khalid El-Amin, Ben Gordon, Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier to name a few greats who once played in the backcourt for their illustrious program.

But now in the present day, there’s another guard that may end up on the names of those greats in UConn history when all is said and done. The talent comes in the form of the name of Jalen Adams.

The 6-foot-3 combo guard is a scoring threat is a player that can penetrate through the lane and score on an opponent in various ways. In many ways, he has also been the player that has consistently carried the team at many junctures this season.

Adams shoots over a Villanova defender. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Slade)

“I’m a crafty guard, I like to get to the basket, love getting out in transition, I can do a lot of passing the ball, scoring the ball. I’m still working, still trying to get better,” he says in regards to his game.

But then again, there’s something that drives him to be successful, and that is: “Just having so many people tell me that I wasn’t going to be good, I wasn’t going to be able to make it, so that’s always fuel to the fire for me,” says Adams.

Adams hails from Roxbury, which is a section of Boston, Massachusetts. When asked what it was like growing up in that section of Beantown, Adams replied, “It’s a tough area, especially playing basketball, there’s a lot of hard-nosed guys from there, Shabazz [Napier] being one of them, Wayne Selden being another. So pretty much when you play basketball out there and you get on the court, you gotta prove it, you can’t have all the hype, all the talk, you gotta get out there and prove it.”

Adams first started out at Melrose High School, a local school in the Boston area, and then moved on to Cushing Academy, a top-tier prep school that is an hour and a half away from Boston, and plays in one of top prep school conferences in the nation, the NEPSAC. At Cushing, he helped lead the Penguins to two straight NEPSAC titles.

Adams pushes the ball up the court at Adidas Nations. (Photo courtesy of Adidas Basketball)

Then, he did a post-graduate year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, which is another NEPSAC powerhouse, in 2014-15, where he led the Bobcats to a 34-1 record, a NEPSAC Class AAA title and the National Prep Showcase, while averaging 16 points, five rebounds and 4.5 assists per game and racking up the NEPSAC Class AAA First Team honors.

“It was a great experience there,” says Adams of his time at Brewster, “I love Brewster Academy, Coach [Jason] Smith and Coach [Josh] Lee did a great job recruiting me, and recruiting other guys to come play there. We had a great team, I think we lost one game all season, won the championship, NEPSAC, all of that, so it was a great time up there.”

Adams, who was rated as the No. 25 recruit in the Class of 2015, had plenty of Division I offers as a prep star, but when all was said and done, he chose the UConn Huskies on June 30th, 2014.

“Just playing for Coach Ollie and the coaching staff and the style of play that UConn is known for playing for, I fell in love with that and just seeing Shabazz come here, a guy from my neighborhood come here and be successful, made me think I could do the same thing.”

Adams and head coach Kevin Ollie and the day they celebrated Adams’ accomplishment of 1,000 points. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Slade)

And so far he has. As a freshman, he averaged 7.3 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for the Huskies, who went 25-11, won the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Tournament and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

His numbers increased as a sophomore, as he was the leading scorer with 14.4 points and also contributed 6.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game for UConn, who had a dismal 16-17 season.

This season, the Huskies are going through another struggling season at 12-13, but Adams has been one of the team’s brightest spots, averaging 17.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 24 games.

When asked if he feels like he has had to take the load in scoring a lot, he replied, “Uh, nah, I don’t feel like I have to carry the load, there’s a lot of ups and downs, but I think this season is a challenge for me, with leadership, I gotta lead my team, which has a whole lot of younger guys, so it’s a good learning experience.”

Adams goes up for a layup. (Photo courtesy of Bob Stowell)

As of now, the Huskies have six more games to go in their regular-season schedule before the AAC Tournament on March 8-11 in Orlando, Florida. All isn’t lost as the Huskies still have a chance to do something major, which could be winning the conference tournament and making another appearance to the NCAA Tournament or making an NIT appearance. But anything is possible right now.

But with Adams on the court, things are a little easier for UConn. When asked about his goals for the rest of the season, he replied, “Finishing in the top five in our conference and then making a run in the conference tournament, and hopefully win that, so we can make it into the [NCAA] Tournament.”

With his statistics, there’s no doubt that Adams has the talent to play professionally in the future. When asked what’s next in the future for himself, he replied, “What’s next for me? I don’t even know. I like to do short-term goals. Right now, it’s just win with this team and get into the NCAA Tournament.”


Highlights of Jalen Adams:

Courtesy of 2EZ Gang.

Courtesy of Ballislife 2.0.

Courtesy of The Basketball Diary.

Courtesy of 2EZ Gang.

Courtesy of Ballas TV.

Courtesy of TCF15.

Courtesy of TCF15.

Courtesy of TCF15.

Courtesy of Corey Porter TV.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.