To be great, young players have to see what it takes to be great. That is what sophomore guard Jalen Jenkins is doing to make himself the best he can be.
After coming off the bench as a freshman last season, Jenkins burst on to the scene as a sophomore leading the talented Mesa Jackrabbits at point guard. When watching him, it’s easy to see he has a very high game IQ.
“I just try to make smart decisions and stuff,” explains Jenkins. “I watch a lot of Magic Johnson, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo and I learn from those guys.”
What made Magic, Rose and Rondo what they are, is their great ability to create for others and take what the defense gives them. Sure all three have the ability to score, but it is what they do with the ball off the dribble and in breaking down defenses that make them all such great point guards. That is exactly what Jenkins is trying to achieve when on the floor.
“I end up getting mine by getting everyone else involved,” said Jenkins. “When I play like that, we come together as a team. That’s just how I play and it works.”
If Jenkins wanted to, he could be one of the top scorers on this Mesa roster because it is very hard for any player in Arizona to guard him. If that was his game, it could take away from what Mesa does best. That’s spread the floor, penetrate and kick the ball outside. Jenkins knows that this is the style that makes him and also his entire team successful.
“I care about them and when we win, we win as a team,” mentioned Jenkins of his teammates. “We are a family here, it means a lot.”
Jenkins has already received division I offers at the next level ASU, UC Irvine, Oregon State and NAU and he is just half way through his second high school season. Just about every team in the Pac-12 has also shown interest. The quick interest means there is a lot of potential and plenty of time to continue to grow.
“They definitely say they want me to work on my free throws and work on my shot a lot,” Jenkins mentioned. “They say that’s the thing that’s going to separate me from the college level to you know, beyond that.”
Jenkins and the extremely talented Mesa Jackrabbits have been ranked toward to top in Arizona this season and could have continued success in the future with Jenkins handling the basketball.