Evaluating Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady in the Davidson-Richmond Game
July 11th, 2020
By Alan Lu
I took the opportunity to watch Davidson’s 6-4 senior guard, Jon Axel Gudmundsson play in an Atlantic-10 college basketball game against Richmond that took place on March 3rd, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via RichmondSpiders. He is a skilled, offensive-minded player that is known for making 6 threes in his team’s first round loss to Kentucky in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, and his versatile skill set could enable him to help an NBA team at the next level. I took the time to watch him play as well as to observe various prospects on Davidson and Richmond’s teams to gauge their skill levels. Here are my thoughts on how they fared, and how their games may stack up in the NBA.
Jon Axel Gudmundsson showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He ran off of ball screens to make a couple of spot-up threes off the catch early on, and he can generate quick offense to start the game. However, he struggled to consistently make long-range shots off the catch or dribble later on, and he had trouble finding his rhythm as the contest wore on.
He also did a good job of scoring on aggressive drives to the basket. Gudmundsson would favor going to his left, but he can also finish plays using either hand. He is a crafty scorer that can has a decent first step to the hoop as he can easily score over smaller defenders, and he was able to score on an acrobatic reverse layup early in this match. Plus, he also can use dribble moves to draw fouls in order to get to the free throw line. In addition, Gudmundsson will make smart, decisive cuts to the hoop to get scores and free throws, and he does a good job of picking and choosing his spots to score on off-ball motion plays.
Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Gudmundsson can throw accurate interior passes to find teammates on the move, and he was able to get a ball to a cutter to notch an assist midway through this game. He also can pass off the dribble to find open shooters. On the downside, he did commit one turnover. On one play, he drove into traffic, and proceeded to throw a careless pass that ended up getting intercepted. Also, Gudmundsson was able to haul in his fair share of boards to help his team on the glass. He would chase down balls to get defensive rebounds, and he would usually bring the ball up afterwards.
Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. He is a fairly active help defender, and he would have intercepted a pass to get a steal, except that his opponent was called for traveling early on the play. He also nearly was able to make a chase down block on a drive in transition, but his teammate also committed a foul earlier. Gudmundsson also was able to stay in front of his man when defending a drive to get his man to pass the basketball another time. On the downside, he had some trouble staying in front his man, which would cause him to commit touch fouls and allow scores. On another play, he sagged too far off his man and was late to rotate back, which led him to allow his man to score on an open three-point shot.
Overall, Gudmundsson is a skilled, versatile playmaker that can knock down a variety of shots, and he also tends to make good decisions with the ball on offense. On the downside, he can be too streaky with his jump shot at times, and his field goal and three-point percentages have steadily declined since his sophomore season. He only possesses fairly average physical tools, so he may struggle to guard quicker players on the defensive end. Right now, he possesses a solid skill set and basketball IQ that could allow him to succeed in the NBA, but his lack of elite physical tools may suggest that his upside may be limited at that next level. In favorable scenario, he could end up being an effective rotation player similar to former Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard, Matthew Dellavedova in the association.
Davidson’s 6-4 junior guard, Kellan Grady also played well in his team’s tough loss to Richmond. He played a solid all-around game, and he primarily excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor. Grady excelled at scoring on strong drives to the hoop. He showed a knack for scoring on floaters, and he also would take the ball hard to the rim to score and get to the free throw line quite often. Plus, he also was able to use a misdirection play to get the ball on a cut to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk, and he generally showed a penchant for scoring off of hustle plays. He also leapt up to score on a beautiful tip-shot after leaping up to get an offensive rebound.
Plus, he also used a ball fake to make a three-point shot from downtown. However, Grady tended to miss on threes and mid-range jumpers, and he struggled more when he would hoist up shots from further away from the basket.
He also showed off average at best playmaking skills in this game. Grady is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can pass off the dribble and out of the post to do so. However, he tended to commit ball-handling turnovers as he would sometimes struggle to handle the ball when faced with significant ball pressure. Sometimes, he would get balls poked away, and he also committed an offensive foul by lowering his shoulder when trying to score out of the post another time. Also, Grady was able to collect his fair share of rebounds to help his team on the glass, and he would tend to bring the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds.
He also played fairly average defense. Grady was able to stay with an opposing ball handler to block a shot off of a drive hard out of bounds, and he also will play passing lanes and poke balls away to get deflections for his team. On the downside, sometimes he would struggle to stay in front of his man, which would cause him to get beat off the dribble to allow scores. Another time, he got outmuscled when defending in the post against taller player, and he committed a foul to allow the score and an extra free throw. On a separate play, he sagged too far off his man, and allowed his man to score on an open three-point shot.
In summary, Kellan Grady is a skilled offensive-minded player that excels at scoring the basketball, as he can make shots in a variety of ways, and he also is a solid athlete that can make plays on both ends of the floor. He will need to improve his on-ball defense, but he is a talented prospect that could project to go in the second round in the 2021 draft.
Richmond’s 6-4 redshirt junior guard, Nick Sherod quietly played very well to help get his team a double-digit victory over Davidson. He played especially well in the second half, as he showed a good ability to knock down threes, and he can run off ball screens and also make them in transition. He also showed a deft ability to score off the dribble, as he managed to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup off of a baseline drive, and he also scored on a tough, fadeaway jumper to show off his solid low-post scoring skills.
Plus, he also did a good job of rebounding the basketball, as he would leap up to haul in numerous defensive boards to help his team get rebounds. Sherod also played fairly average defense. He would play passing lanes and poke balls away to help his team get steals and deflections, and he also used his length to contest a three-point shot to force a miss. Sometimes though, he would be late on his rotations and space out defensively, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Sherod is an athletic, skilled combo guard that shoots the ball well, and he is a sharpshooter that can put up a barrage of points in a hurry. He could be a player to watch next year, as his solid blend of shooting prowess and athleticism could make him a candidate to go in the second round in 2021.
Richmond’s 5-9 junior point guard, Jacob Gilyard is a smart, steady playmaker who can reliably run the point, and he showed a good ability to run the team to help them get the win over Davidson. Gilyard is a solid playmaker that tends to make good reads on offense. He can find teammates on the move, and he passes the ball well off the dribble. On one play, he drove aggressively to the hoop before throwing a nifty, no-look, behind-the-back pass to find a teammate around the basket to set up a score for him.
He possesses good court vision and he can deftly push the ball up the court to create fast break scoring opportunities for his teammates. He also did a good job of managing the game and would rarely commit turnovers. He did commit a couple of turnovers, as he lost the ball carelessly off of his own foot once, and he also threw a hasty, inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds another time.
Gilyard is also a quick, shifty guard that can score on quick drives to the hoop, and he also made an open corner three. Plus, he also drew three free throws when attempting a three on a separate play. However, he also struggled to consistently make his three-point shots from beyond the arc, and he also had a shot blocked once when trying to drive to the hoop to score on the break.
However, he will need to improve his defense. For the positives, Gilyard was able to poke a ball away to get a steal, and he will contest three-point shots to force misses. However, his lack of size can make it difficult for him to effectively contest shots when guarding taller shooters or opponents on cuts, and he would sometimes be late on his rotations that would cause his team to commit fouls and allow scores.
In general, Jacob Gilyard is a skilled playmaker that can effectively run the team, as he is a steady game manager with the ball in his hands. However, his lack of size or elite physical tools could make it an uphill battle for him to try to make it to the NBA. His strong playmaking skills could allow him to end up on NBA team’s summer league roster, but he will need to improve his ability to create his own shot and on-ball defense in order to improve his odds to make it to and succeed in the NBA.
Richmond’s 6-10 redshirt junior center, Grant Golden is a skilled big man that possesses the scoring and playmaking skills to be a very effective player at the collegiate level. It’s unclear if his game would transition well to the NBA, but he is a fundamentally sound big man that operates very well out of the post.
Golden is a good scorer out of the post. He has good strength to back down his man, and he can use a series of ball fakes and dribble moves to score on turnaround jumpers and jump hooks. He also would go hard to the hoop to draw fouls upon his defenders, and he will drive the ball aggressively from the high post to get scores and free throws. On the other hand, he did not look to take many jumpers from outside of the paint area.
He also displayed solid playmaking skills. Golden is a very unselfish player that passes the ball well out of the post, and he possesses good patience and court vision to find the open man to set up numerous scoring chances for his teammates. He also was able to set an off-ball screen to help get his teammate an open jump shot to set a score another time. However, sometimes he would struggle to handle the ball in the post when facing considerable ball pressure. He was called for traveling after shuffling his feet when trying to score out of the post once, and he also had a ball poked away on a separate play.
Strangely, Golden did not grab a single rebound in this game, even though he was the tallest player on his own team. He also looked to be average at best defensively. Golden was able to use his length to front his man when defending in the post, and he managed to intercept a pass to get a steal. He has good strength to defend down low, as he was able to force some misses. However, he generally struggled to defend quicker players, as he would get beat on shoulder fakes and dribble moves when defending in the post, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores. Other times, he would be late on his rotations, as he had some trouble staying in front of his man on the defensive end.
Overall, Grant Golden is a skilled big man that can score and pass out of the post, but his average athletic gifts combined with his below-the-rim playing style could make it difficult for him to effectively make the transition to the NBA. He will need to work on his jump shot, and he will need to improve his ability to rebound and defend in games. Most likely, he could be an effective player overseas when he finishes his collegiate career, but he will need to make significant adjustments and improvements to his game if he were to improve his odds to make it to the association.
Richmond’s 6-0 junior guard, Blake Francis had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Davidson. He struggled to consistently make shots early on, but he was able to get into a groove as the game wore on. Francis excelled at making quick, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also was able to make a pull-up jumper from mid-range. He also was able to score on a cut and he also can go to his left to score on floaters off the dribble. However, he had trouble making mid-range jumpers consistently, and he would sometimes rush his shots and go too out of control when driving to the hoop, which would lead to misses.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Francis is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he also handles the ball well. However, he also committed one turnover, as he was called for a clear-out foul when handling the ball early on in this match.
Also, Francis was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he looked to be about average. He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also was able to jump on a loose ball to help his team collect another. Plus, he also successfully drew a charge when defending in the post, and he also contested a mid-range jumper to force a miss another time. On the downside, his lack of size can make it difficult for him to guard taller players, and sometimes he would get beat on moves to the hoop that would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Francis is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, but he will need to improve his playmaking and defensive skills. He will need to show that he can effectively run the point and guard taller players, but if he isn’t able to, he could end up having a long career in professional basketball.
Richmond’s 6-7 junior forward, Nathan Cayo from Canada is an athletic, energetic player that could project to be a defensive specialist at the next level. He can ably score on hustle plays, and he also can score off of drives and in the post. However, he struggled more to score in traffic, especially when he wouldn’t get foul calls. He also did not take a single three-point shot in this game. He also can pass out of the post to find the open man. He also appeared to show some ball handling skills, but he ended up being called for committing a couple of traveling violations.
Plus, he did a good job of grabbing rebounds and steals in this game. He also used his length to contest a three-point shot to force a miss. However, he can sometimes be too aggressively defensively, as he was called for a foul when contesting a put back attempt on the defensive end.
Overall, Nathan Cayo is an athletic, energetic combination forward that can use spin moves to score off the dribble and in the post, and he also can make plays on the ball to get rebounds and steals. He will need to improve his jump shot though, and he will also need to tighten up his handle. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the 2021 draft, and he could end up having a long career in professional basketball even if he doesn’t make it to the NBA.