John Luke Fabian
It is no secret who the best player in the Mountain West this year is. Senior guard Josh Adams has come into the year looking like a Tasmanian devil, by building off of the success he had last year.
Today, it is almost impossible not to be able to recognize him. He’s the man who flies to the rim as if he is wearing a jetpack. He’s got tattoos that cover both of his arms, having the eye immediately drawn to him. His play demands you give him your undivided attention.
Adams could probably be named the new president of UW and nobody would bat and eye. He’s got that “it” factor.
“He’s just consumed with ‘it.’ If you could go to 7-Eleven and buy ‘it,’ you’d want ‘it’ for your own kids, and he’s got that ‘it.’” Shyatt said after an overtime loss to California.
Adams had 32 points in the loss and was clearly the best player on the floor that night. He outplayed a couple of Cal freshman who are looking to head to the NBA after this season, one will probably be a lottery pick.
It was not always this way, believe it or not. Adams had to work to put himself into the position that he is in today.
Adams had a few offers coming out of high school to play college ball, but nothing too significant. Northern Colorado was the only Division 1 School in his home state to recruit him.
Not too far away, a coach in Laramie was keeping a close eye on him.
“Coach Shyatt showed a lot of interest. He basically said we are going to get you here, but first I want to get to know you and your family,” Adams said.
Shyatt saw Adams play one game and was sold. He saw the potential that Adams had. Shyatt constantly kept in touch with Adams, calling him every chance he could get. Adams would not hear from other schools for long periods of time.
Shyatt knew what he had. Josh had the same fire and competitive DNA as Shyatt.
“I think he saw my athlete abilities, but I think he has got the eyes to see past that. To see what I was capable of becoming, and he has really transformed me into just a lot more than just an athlete and a great basketball player,” Adams said.
Adams takes passion in what he does. It is the competitive gene you cannot teach. The “it” factor.
“It’s in the family. Everyone in my family is competitive, my mom, my dad, brother and sister. Our family game nights get a little brutal, and I think it comes from that,” Adams said.
The Wyoming star says being overlooked adds kindling to his fire. Colorado and Colorado State took a pass on him because they felt he was too raw of an athlete. CSU’s head coach Larry Eustachy has been kicking himself for the past four years, passing blame onto Tim Miles.
“Adams should be playing here,” Eustachy told the Coloradoan.
Of course Adams was a bit of a project coming into his freshman year. He wanted to be able to contribute however he was asked.
“They told me I would be a defensive stopper after they saw the energy I played with on defense, so I embraced that role freshman year and kind of added on to it as the years went by,” Adams said.
Adams did not want to settle for where he was at. As the years went on Adams added more to his game, making improvements to the areas he struggled with.
“A lot of hours in the AA, countless trips, sometimes three four times a day. I wasn’t always a good jump shooter or even set shooter. I would come in, get on the gun and shoot a lot,” Adams said.
The improvement has shown. Adams is currently leading the Mountain West in scoring and is fourth in the nation at 24 points per game. Take a look at who is at the top of individual categories and you will probably find Josh’s name.
The improvement took time, and unfortunately for Josh, his time at UW is starting to run out. Adams has at least six games left in his college career. He is trying to not let it get to him.
“There will be a time to reflect afterwards. As of right now, I just want to focus on the moment that I am in,” Adams said.
The kid from Colorado has come a long way. Adams still wants the team to be able to compete for a Mountain West title, even if their seeding is not that great at the moment. The season and his career might not end up where he wants, but we do know one thing. It will be a hell of a finish.
John Luke Fabian