Feb 7, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Jordan Adams (3) shoots against the Washington Huskies during the game at the Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Adams hoped for a strong start to his college basketball career and it was hard for him to be disappointed after his first four games.
He scored 21 off the bench in his debut, a win over Indiana State, and had 26 points (making 16 of 16 free throws) in the next game, a victory over UC-Irvine. He followed those up by scoring 25 on James Madison and 22 on Georgetown.
No UCLA freshman had ever scored more than 20 points in his first three college games, and the former Central Gwinnett standout had bettered that mark by one.
"It felt great," Adams said of his impressive college debut. "Knowing how many great players have played here as freshmen, passing them and making history, it was great."
The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder has continued his contributions for the Bruins, who are 17-6 overall and 7-3 in the Pac-12 heading into today's home game with Washington State. He was chosen this week as one of 12 players on the midseason watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award, joining teammates Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson.
Adams is second to Muhammad in scoring, averaging 14.7 points, and leads the Bruins in steals (44), 3-pointers (30), free throws (83) and free-throw percentage (81.4). He had 15 points in UCLA's victory at Arizona on Jan. 24.
"I'm just trying to show my scoring ability and my defensive ability and trying to help the team win," Adams said. "I just want to go out and compete every night."
Adams still considers Gwinnett his home, since his family still lives in the area, but it has been several years since he played basketball in his home county. He played his first two high school seasons at Central, averaging 18.8 points and 7.7 rebounds as a sophomore for a Final Four team, but enrolled at prestigious Oak Hill Academy (Va.) for his final two high school seasons.
Off the court, Adams was voted Mr. Oak Hill by the prep school's staff for his grades, character, personality and upholding the values of the school. On the court, he fared pretty well, too.
He averaged 19.8 points as a senior and captained Oak Hill to a school-best 44-0 record and the national championship. He finished his career as the fourth-leading scorer in Oak Hill history.
He faced top-notch competition regularly and traveled the country for games, much like a college player.
"Those two years (at Oak Hill) were huge," Adams said. "At Oak Hill, it's just like college basketball. That's why I was so ready for college. It got me ready. We faced better athletes and it got us ready for college."
UCLA entered the recruiting mix late for Adams, who said his earlier favorites were Miami, Georgia, Memphis, Kansas and Georgetown. But the Bruins added him to their loaded freshman class that also included Muhammad, the 2012 Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year.
That group has high hopes for this season, even though they've been up and down of late in Pac-12 play.
"I wish we would have done a little bit better," Adams said. "I think we could have done better, but it's been a good freshman year for me so far. ... We want to win the Pac-12 championship and go far in the (NCAA) Tournament. We want to make a deep run."
Mill Creek grad Brandon Hayman had 14 points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals in only 12 minutes as Samford defeated Appalachian State last weekend. ... Meadowcreek's Aaron Robinson had 13 points and Greater Atlanta Christian's Robert Armstrong had eight points, seven rebounds, five steals and three blocks as Georgia College and State University beat Columbus State 59-51 last weekend.
Collins Hill grad Jeremy Olsen had 12 points off the bench last weekend as Utah upset Colorado. ... North Gwinnett's Abby Slocumb had eight points and 10 rebounds Thursday night in Georgia College and State University's game at Montevallo. ... Norcross' Denzail Jones powered Anderson (S.C.) past Newberry on Wednesday night with a game-high 25 points. He averages a team-high 20 points.
Maynor flourishing in Cali
After transferring from Georgia State and joining former GSU coach Rod Barnes at Cal-State Bakersfield, Javonte Maynor is off to a nice start with his new team.
Thought his team has struggled to an 8-15 record, the 6-foot sophomore guard has started all 23 games and averages a team-high 31.4 minutes. He averages 10.3 points in his first action since the 2010-11 season, his freshman year at Georgia State. He sat out last season because of the transfer.
One of Maynor's teammates is Norcross grad Zach Lamb, who averaged 4.6 points in five games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
Williams playing well
Central Gwinnett grad Brian Williams is in the middle of another solid season at Jacksonville State (15-7).
The 6-foot-1 guard averages 12.5 and 4.2 assists in a team-best 35 minutes per game.
Peach Belt award
Columbus State junior and Dacula grad Kori Waugh was named the Peach Belt Conference player of the week on Tuesday.
Waugh started the season hot, hitting .400 with two home runs and three RBIs in three Cougar victories last week. She also drew three walks and stole a base.
Cook earns conference honor
Georgia State junior Thomas Cook, a Parkview grad, was named the first Sun Belt Conference men's tennis player of the week on Wednesday.
Cook has clinched three of Georgia State's four victories with singles wins this season and is the Panthers' only undefeated singles player. He is 5-0 at the No. 2 singles spot. He also has three doubles wins.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.