Kansas basketball forward KJ Adams has showcased an entirely new skill set across the past few games and is playing the best basketball of his collegiate career.
KJ Adams beat out Zach Clemence for the starting center spot last season despite averaging 1 point per game as a freshman. However, the 5-spot is not the natural position for the 6-foot-7 uber-athletic forward, and he has fared much better in his hybrid forward role alongside Hunter Dickinson.
One aspect of his game that he has elevated has been his playmaking skills. In last night’s win over Mizzou, Adams had five assists just a few days after recording six against UMKC. He had reached the five-assist mark once in his career but has now done so in less than a week.
Adams spoke about this in his postgame press conference.
“I can handle the ball. I just haven’t had to do it much because you have people like Dajuan and Kevin to bring up the ball,” Adams said. “They were daring me to bring up the ball, and I just felt like I was a little bit quicker or faster than a lot of the guys that were guarding me. So that led to some easy transition buckets.”
Kansas basketball fans had seen glimpses of his passing ability, but he has put them on full display lately. He is doing just about everything for the Jayhawks, serving as a point forward with tremendous athleticism on the offensive end and a defensive stalwart too.
And we still get to watch him make ridiculous plays like this.
With Dickinson in the picture, Adams doesn’t have to wait around in the paint looking to crash the glass. He has become more valuable off the ball and can still roll to the rim for his classic alley-oop flushes. Because he is a bit undersized, his value has skyrocketed since a true big man arrived in Lawrence. We’re finally witnessing what he is truly capable of.
An argument can be made that Adams has been the most valuable Kansas basketball player this season. While it’d be nice to see him develop more of a feel for the game on the perimeter, he does the little things to help his team. It’ll be interesting to see how he matches up with Indiana forward Malik Reneau next week, a player with a similar skill set to him.