Saturday, June 25, 2011

Charles Jenkins and the NBA - Perfect Together

On Thursday night, Charles Jenkins was selected by the Golden State Warriors with the 44th pick in the NBA draft.  For all the "Charles Jenkins Facts" fans, it was an ideal selection.  #22 was taken in Round 2.  Multiply the numbers together and you have 44, the selection where he was picked.  That has omen written all over it.

It made sense that the Warriors picked Jenkins.  Based on what I saw, the one NBA scout that observed Jenkins the most during the season was Speedy Claxton, the former Hofstra great, who is now a scout for Golden State.  Claxton was also not a nationally known guard when the Philadelphia 76ers took him in the first round of the 2000 NBA draft.  But Claxton had a nice seven year NBA run until injuries derailed that career.   Claxton knows what it takes to play in the NBA, so there's no doubt he had a lot of input in the selection of Jenkins.

Now I had read the mock drafts prior to the evening of the draft.  And several of them had Jenkins as a late first/early second round pick.   But as I sat in my Milwaukee hotel room watching the NBA draft, around selection #11 I believe,  Jenkins became listed in Jay Bilas' Ten Best Available list.  And one by one as players were taken by teams, most of them on Bilas' list,  Jenkins moved up until he was the number one player on Bilas' list.  This was around selections #25-#27 (sorry I can't remember exactly).  Part of me said "Perhaps Bilas knows something and a team will take him here in the late first round. "

But since I follow several college and NBA beat writers on Twitter who have inside information, I knew who those teams were taking seconds, even a minute before the official draft selection. And I knew the team about to pick wasn't taking Jenkins. Thus for the next nearly twenty selections, teams took other players besides Jenkins.  A lot of these teams took other players with "athletic talent" and "potential", much to the chagrin of the Hofstra coaches, players and fans at Bar Social in Hempstead, Long Island.

But many of those aforementioned players taken for their "potential" and "athletic talent" had nowhere near the production of Jenkins.  Since I was at his first game in Worcester, Massachusetts against Holy Cross in November 2007, I have seen Charles Jenkins develop over the four years at Hofstra.  I saw all his home games, many road games and most of his CAA Tournament games.  Jenkins always had "talent", "potential" and the physique of a Miami Hurricanes free safety.  But unlike a lot of the players that were drafted ahead of Jenkins Thursday night, Jenkins developed his game over his four years at Hofstra and actually produced.

Jenkins worked to become an excellent three point shooter as well as having a mid range jumper.   He developed his dribble drive penetration driving to the left as well as the right.  Jenkins worked on his left handed layup and his ability to dish the ball when players converged on him.  He also showed the ability of incredibly quick hands dribbling the ball through traffic.

As I noted, Jenkins' hard work resulted in significant production. He is the all time leader in points scored in Hofstra history.  He was the sixth leading scorer in the country in 2010-11, averaging 22.6 points per game.  He did this shooting 51.7 percent from the field, the only scorer in the top ten of the NCAA who shot more than 50 percent from the field.

And it wasn't like Jenkins was playing in a lesser conference.  As everyone should know by now, the CAA had three teams in the NCAA Tournament.  One team, VCU, went to the Final Four, and was the first team to win five games to make the Final Four.  Another team, George Mason, won their first round game against Villanova.  And finally, ODU lost at the buzzer to eventual National Runner-up Butler.  Jenkins led Hofstra to a third place regular season finish in the Colonial, which is a pretty remarkable feat given the aforementioned talented teams.

So given those facts, when you look below at the Top 11 scorers in the country in 2010-11, it is remarkable that Jenkins is the best in both FG percentage and three point FG percentage.

Player PPG FG % 3 Point FG %
Jimmer Fredette 28.9 45.2 39.6
Marshon Brooks 24.6 46.7 34.0
Adrian Oliver 24.0 43.2 40.9
Andrew Goudelock 23.7 45.5 40.7
Kemba Walker 23.5 42.8 33.0
Charles Jenkins22.6 51.7 42.0
Xavier Silas 22.3 45.9 41.3
Anatoly Bose 22.1 39.4 32.5
C.J. McCollum 21.8 39.9 31.5
Norris Cole 21.7 43.9 34.2
Klay Thompson
21.6 43.6 39.8

The table above shows how efficient Jenkins was compared to the other top ten scorers in the country. Of particular note is that of the top eleven scorers in the nation, besides Jenkins, six other players were drafted Thursday night - Fredette, Brooks, Goudelock, Walker, Cole and Thompson.  Only Goudelock was drafted lower than Jenkins.  

But it's not just about scoring.  Jenkins also averaged 4.8 assists per game.  Of the top eleven scorers in the country, only Norris Cole averaged more assists per game (5.3).  Jenkins also averaged 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.  He was an all around stat sheet stuffer.

One of the best ratings of how efficient Jenkins was John Hollinger's College Player Efficiency Ratings.  In Hollinger's list of player efficiency leaders, only two other players taken in the 2011 NBA draft ranked higher than Jenkins; Kenneth Faried and Derrick Williams.  If that's not enough statistical proof on how good a player Jenkins is, take a look at Luke Winn's thoughtfully detailed article at  The one statistic that jumps out to me in that article was "that 63.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot opportunities came with a man in his face."

In other words, Jenkins was heavily guarded on most of his shot attempts.  Yet Jenkins shot 51.7 percent from the field and 42 percent from three on the season.  How awesome is that?  Yet, it took the 44th selection of the draft for someone to realize "You know, Jenkins is pretty good."

And folks, I am not the only person who watched a lot of Jenkins' games that feels this way.  Mike Litos sums it up best in his article on

When did accomplishment and proof lose out to a twinkle in one’s eye? And when did the value of points, rebounds, assists–and other skill-based data in which the game is actually measured–get eclipsed by height and length and motor (but no discernible skill)?
My thoughts exactly Mike.  There's a reason why Hofstra retired Charles Jenkins' jersey before he had played his last game.  Because he was the most productive player in Pride/Flying Dutchmen history.

But that's OK.  For those of you who read Bill Simmons, NBA general managers are not the sharpest tools in the shed.  What else would explain drafting players from such talent rich leagues as Qatar?  But Golden State's GM Larry Riley wisely took Jenkins, thanks in large part to one Speedy Claxton.  And I can guarandamntee you that Charles Jenkins, one of the hardest working players I have ever seen, will now be even more motivated to prove the other 29 teams wrong.

A lot of teams are going to find out the hard way that Jenkins is a perfect fit for the NBA.  Go get em #22.

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