Sunday, February 27, 2011

Charles Jenkins- Hofstra's Pride & Joy

"Last Monday Charles Jenkins was summoned to the office of Hofstra athletic director Jack Hayes, and who could blame him. The last time Jenkins had been in Hayes' office, he got the news that Tim Welsh, who had just been named coach, was resigning after a DWI arrest and that Mo Cassara would be taking over. In a prior visit, Jenkins had been told that long-time Hofstra coach Tom Pecora was leaving to take the reins at Fordham"

But this the news was about Charles, Hofstra had decided to retire Jenkins' number 22 before his final home game, Saturday afternoon against Hofstra. Charles wears 22 in honor of his late brother, Kareem Albritton, who was shot back in 2001 at the age of 22. He was named CAA Player of the Year and is lock to win it again in 2010-2011. We have even heard Jenkins' name being mentioned in National Player of the Year talks, he is one of only three players to lead their conference in both points and assists (Duke's Nolan Smith and Cleveland State's Norris Cole).

Jenkins is currently Hofstra's all-time leading scorer with 2,441 points, surpassing Antoine Aguido's previous record, and will continue to add to that total during the CAA tournament. Jenkins is the second leading scorer in CAA history, behind only the great David Robinson of Navy. He was recently named one of 30 finalists for the Nasmith Award (for best collegiate basketball player in the country). Hofstra is sporting a 20-10 record, 14-4 in conference, good for 2nd place in the CAA. If they team can win its next three games they will be the in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001. Making the big dance would be a great way for Charles Jenkins to end his college career.

There has been many discussions over whether Jenkins will play at the next level. Hofstra has only produced one NBA player: Speedy Claxton 2001-2008, but has had many former athletes play overseas in places like Turkey and Puerto Rico. David Satriano of the New York Post said "Charles Jenkins showed yesterday why he has garnered national attention, and might be a lottery pick in this year's NBA Draft." This is a big leap for a guy who wasn't even listed in mock drafts back in the Fall. Jenkins is a phenomenal scorer but he does with efficiency, 53% from field goal range and 42% from behind the arch. Although he is only 6'3" Jenkins weights 220 pounds and is built like a linebacker. Whenever Charles isn't in the gym you could find him in the weight room. His body type is ideal for a NBA combo guard. Hofstra's senior guard is the fourth leading scorer in the country and each day his draft stock seems to be rising. In his senior season he had to deal with losing long time Hofstra coach Tom Pecora and and the resignation of Tim Welsh, all in a single off-season. In addition we saw the transfer of multiple Hofstra players following Pecora's departure to Fordham.

Hopefully the Pride can continue their stellar season and earn a bid into the NCAA tournament. Jenkins has one of the most consistent careers in recent history, most top scorers enter the draft after one or two seasons, but Charles was been at Hofstra for 5 years (after being red-shirted his freshman year). Experts and finally started placing Jenkins on their draft boards, late second round, but a team that has a guard need should really like at Jenkins. He can score from anywhere on the court, rebounds well for his size, and passes the ball like a true point guard. Look for a similar situation to the one we are seeing with the Knicks and Landry Fields: a senior guard from a "mid-level" conference who filled the stat sheet but got little recognition. Landry Fields was taken in the second round but is easily outplaying every rookie selected ahead of him, including guys like John Wall. If it wasn't for Blake Griffin (injured prior to the 2009-2010 season) Landry Fields would be the favorite for Rookie of the Year. Whichever team "gambles" on Charles Jenkins will hit the jackpot. I see him immediately playing significant minutes at both guard spots. His handles, shooting ability, and defensive skills will make him a valuable asset for a rebuilding team. The perfect "win-win" situation would be for the Chicago Bulls to draft Jenkins in the second round. The Bulls' weakest link is Keith Bogans at SG, but the team still has Kyle Korver off the bench. Bogans and Korver can hold their own until Jenkins develops and learns the system. Jenkins would be a great compliment to Derrick Rose and ironically is a hybrid cross between the style's of Rose and Deng. If Jenkins can develop into his role within a season or two the Bulls will be the favorites in the East and a dangerous offensive machine.

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