Arkansas State University sophomore wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr. was at basketball practice the day after the Arizona Bowl.
A 6-3, 209-pounder from Jonesboro, Adams reeled in 17 catches for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Red Wolves in 2018. Adams' job flipped from a wide receiver to a guard Sunday after ASU's 16-13 overtime loss to Nevada in Tuscon where he caught 1 pass for 3 yards.
The Red Wolves (6-7, 0-0 Sun Belt Conference) aren't wasting time with Adams, either. The sophomore, who will wear No. 22, is set to make his debut in tonight in ASU's Sun Belt Conference opener inside the Cajundome at Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4, 0-0).
"He's a tremendous kid," said ASU Coach Mike Balado. "What a big-time athlete. Very intelligent. He's picked up stuff surprisingly well. He'll help us. That will allow us to slide [senior guard Grantham] Gallard a little bit over to the shooting guard position. [Adams] can play some small forward, wing forward for us. He's so strong. He guards four positions, sometimes five. So he's been a huge addition for us. He's been a pleasant surprise."
Adams' addition helps relieve ASU's backcourt from injuries and a shortened bench.
With redshirt sophomore guard Christian Willis out until February with a broken finger and junior guard Canberk Kus day-to-day with an ankle injury, the Red Wolves have rotated just three guards -- senior Ty Cockfield II, sophomore Marquis Eaton and freshman Kobe Wilson -- at guard.
"So you know, the guard spot's a little thin," Balado said.
Although tonight will be his first basketball game since his senior year of high school, Adams is no stranger to ASU's team. He was once a teammate with Eaton and Wilson at Jonesboro.
The three played together in 2015-16 when the Hurricane went 24-3 and were defeated in the Class 6A state championship. Adams was a two-time all-state selection and was named a co-MVP with Eaton in the 2017 state championship game, helping the Hurricane finish 32-0.
Adams will become the first ASU football player to make the temporary jump to basketball since Darion Griswold appeared in 26 games in the 2011-12 season.
"Well, I knew [Adams] always loved basketball and he wanted to play," Balado said. "I just wanted to make sure it was OK with [ASU football] Coach [Blake] Anderson. So I knew there was a possibility, but I never took it serious until he spoke to Blake. And we got the OK from there. Blake and I are obviously working together to make sure he's fulfilling both responsibilities.
"The way we play too fits him very well -- up-and-down style, pressing, scoring in transition. He can do that. He's still learning the defenses, the calls and some of the sets at different positions because we're going to play him at multiple positions."
Arkansas State women's basketball team will open Sun Belt play at 7 p.m. today against Louisiana-Lafayette at First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.
The Red Wolves (5-6, 0-0) are 15-12 all-time in Sun Belt openers. ASU will open league play in Jonesboro for the third consecutive season.
Despite being in the same conference since 1982-83, ASU and Louisiana-Lafayette (2-9, 0-0) will meet for just the second time in a conference opener.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock women are finally home.
The Trojans' women's basketball team will return to the Jack Stephens Center for the first time since Dec. 8 to begin Sun Belt play tonight against Louisiana-Monroe (6-5, 0-0)
UALR (4-7, 0-0) will open league play against Louisiana-Monroe for the first time since 2006-2007, the Warhawks' first season in the Sun Belt. UALR is 13-0 in its past 13 games against the Warhawks and 13-1 overall at the Jack Stephens Center against them.
Sports on 01/03/2019
Print Headline: ASU WR heads to backcourt