The NCAA’s all time steals leader, a four times All-Atlantic 10 selection and All-Defense selection, Jacob Gilyard had an accomplished collegiate career at Richmond. As a 5th year senior, Gilyard averaged 13.3 PPG, 5.4 APG, 3.5 RPG, 3 SPG, and 1.6 TOPG on shooting splits of 39.5/36/86. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Jacob Gilyard
Wingspan/ standing reach: 5’10 ½ / 7’5 ½
Hand size: N/A
Pre-Draft team: Richmond
Tools: Steals, shooting
- NCAA all time steals leader
- Elite active hands
- Good shooting form
- Great spot up shooter
- Good assist: turnover ratio
- Efficient P&R playmaker
- Great vision; sees beyond defenses in transition
- Gets defenders in the air on drive & kicks, leading to easy assists to big men
- Thrives off give & goes, which makes him elite in DHO
- Comfortable with both hands
- Quick footwork into jumpers
- Excellent feel for the game
- Undersized with short arms
- Minimal threat on shot contests
- Below the rim finisher
- Low vertical
- Simple in P&R as a passer
- Predictable P&R scorer
- Makes tons of jump passes
- Old for the draft (turns 24 right after the draft)
- Low FG%; needs to be more efficient
Jacob Gilyard is an undersized guard that can force turnovers with ease, shoot, and run offense at any tempo.
Defensively, the book on Gilyard starts with his historic turnover-forcing ability. As the all-time leader in NCAA history for steals in a college career, Gilyard has a nose for the ball, whether it be with his active and accurate hands or his ability to read the passing lanes. While he will struggle to contest shots, his threat for forcing turnovers will be impactful on defense. He doesn’t lose positioning when going for steals, which makes him a pest defensively. If a team can hide him effectively in playing to his strengths of forcing turnovers while reducing his weaknesses as a shot alterer, he will emerge as a neutral or slightly positive defender.
Offensively, Gilyard’s basketball IQ allows him to be a floor general, quick shooter off of dribble moves, and an off-ball threat as a spot-up shooter with a quick release. Despite being undersized, Gilyard does a good job of taking advantage of mismatches and shooting over defenders quickly, both in spot-ups and off the dribble and self-creation moves.
However, one college coach I spoke to noted his excellent college career and skills, but mentioned his limitations in using the pick & roll, which opened my eyes to an area I had previously overlooked. While he is not remotely bad in the pick & roll as a ball-handler, he is a simple playmaker, and somewhat predictable as a scorer out of ball-screen sets. On the year, Gilyard had rough numbers out of the pick & roll, per Synergy: 63rd percentile in overall P&R sets including passes, but he shot 29% out of P&R sets on 109 attempts. He generally used two moves, a stepback and straight-line drives to the rim, off of screens. In order to stick in the NBA, he will have to be more creative out of screens both as a playmaker and scorer.
Overall, Gilyard being a nearly mistake-free player while creating tons of mistakes for opposing offensive players as a defender, while also possessing a good jump shot, make him an interesting dark-horse for a backup guard in the NBA. While other smaller players with overlapping skill-sets have not been able to make the leap to the NBA, such as Tremont Waters, Gilyard’s smooth jumper separates him in terms of skill-set from other undersized guards in the past.
Similar to: Tremont Waters, Jevon Carter
Projected draft range: Undrafted
Expected role: Reserve guard that can force turnovers, run offense, and shoot jumpers.
Unplayable if: Size limits him and his shooting doesn’t translate against tougher competition and length, and his turnover-forcing traits don’t scale up to negate his physical shortcomings on defense.
Exceeds expectations if: He grows as a P&R scorer and playmaker, and teams can hide his on-ball defensive limitations.