Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD
High School: Gonzaga College High School
Kris Jenkins is the guy who hit the shot. You know — this shot. Perhaps you've seen it before.
But Jenkins was more about that shot in 2015-16. As a junior, Jenkins more than doubled his scoring average (6.3 to 13.6 ppg). He got particularly hot from Jan. 13 through the end of the season, as during that stretch he scored at least 10 points in all but one game. He asserted himself as not just the team's biggest threat from deep (he made 100 3-pointers last season), but also a reliable scoring option who the team can depend on every night.
What changed most for Jenkins in 2015-16 was his ability to score in ways other than the 3-pointer. As a sophomore, Jenkins took over 80 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. As a junior, that percentage was down to 66 percent. The difference was a better back-to-the-basket and mid-range game that saw him connect on a career-high 45.9 percent of shots. His commitment to scoring inside the perimeter can be seen in his free-throw shooting, as he had 103 attempts from the line as a junior after just 86 attempts during his first two seasons combined.
Jenkins will have an even bigger role than last year in 2016-17. He along with Josh Hart will be counted on to be the team's leaders and their most reliable scorers. With the upward trend of his statistics as well as a likely increase in minutes, Jenkins should see his scoring average top 15 ppg for the first time in his career.
The biggest adjustment Jenkins will likely need to make as a senior is dealing with increased attention. Because of his shot last April and an increased role with the Wildcats this season, he will spend many nights being guarded by the opposing team's best defender. How he deals with that will likely determine how successful his season is. But Jenkins and Hart are as dependable a returning duo as you'll find in college basketball, and they'll both be the cornerstones of this team's success this season.
Best Case Scenario: It's hard to imagine a better case scenario than hitting a buzzer-beater jumper to win a national title, but let's try our best. Jenkins doesn't just keep up his strong play from last season — he gets even better. It's Jenkins not Hart who becomes the go-to player on offense leading to national accolades, including an All-American selection. Jenkins not only pushes his scoring average about 20 ppg, but he also chips in 5 rpg. The strong play fuels Villanova to another national title, where Jenkins is named Most Outstanding Player. He is drafted in the late first round in June.
Worst Case Scenario: Jenkins suffers from national title hangover and fails to take a step forward. His scoring average hovers around 13 ppg, and he fails to assert himself as more than a complimentary piece. His 3-point shot suffers a shooting slump because of the extra defensive attention, which hurts Villanova's ability to stretch the floor. With extra pressure in the NCAA tournament due to last season's heroics, Jenkins has an off shooting night in the first weekend, and Villanova goes home early.
We are pleased to bring back our Wisdom of Crowds experiment for the 2016-2017 season. In this series, we ask that you consider the points covered in our player preview to supplement your own personal insights and instincts to predict the points per game each scholarship player on the roster we score in the upcoming season.