Most will know him as the hero of the 2016 National Championship game, but there’s much more than The Shot when it comes to Villanova Wildcats forward Kris Jenkins. The 6’6” 240 lb. tweener is a gifted shooter, but it’s his positional flexibility that could make him a good fit as the pro game places a premium on spacing.
While it’s unlikely that Jenkins will hear his name called during Thursday’s NBA Draft, he has completed workouts for the Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers. He’s on the radar of the league, which could make him an intriguing UDFA or Summer Camp invitee.
Kris Jenkins Collegiate Statistics
Like his teammate Josh Hart, Jenkins will get positive reviews for the body transformation he went through in his four years at Villanova. He showed up during his freshman season grossly overweight, and has hovered between 230 and 240 pounds during the last two season. He was at his fittest during his Senior season - he was noticeably slimmed down.
At 6’6 and 235 lbs., Jenkins was the proverbial matchup nightmare in college. His sweet stroke meant he couldn’t be left alone on the outside which made it difficult for protopytical forwards to handle him. Yet his size allowed him to use a serviceable back-to-the-basket game to overpower smaller defenders inside.
He’s an excellent shooter, although he has shown some streakiness at times in his career. When left open, he’s deadly and could be a useful pick-and-pop player at the next level off the bench.
His work-rate and passion are through the roof. Though not the impact defender like his teammates Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges, his basketball IQ somewhat makes up for any physical deficits on the defensive end.
He’s an excellent passer off the wing or out of the high post, and generally makes good decisions with the ball in the flow of the offense.
While his positional flexibility will be viewed as an asset a la Draymond Green, Jenkins lacks the strength, quickness and general athleticism that NBA GMs will look for when attempting to copycat that role. In short, he’s a tweener that may struggle to guard multiple positions.
He’s shown the propensity to get trigger-happy in Jay Wright’s offense, and will settle for jumpers at times instead of working for a better shot. His ball-handling and ability to create his own shot will be questioned, though he wasn’t asked to do that much in Villanova’s offense.
Where he fits in on the defensive end remains to be seen. He lacks the length to deal with traditional NBA post players and new-age small forwards, and he’ll struggle to handle quicker backcourt players at the next level.
Given the weight issues he’s faced throughout his career, his stamina will likely be called into question as well.
Off The Court
Stop us if you’ve heard it before, but Kris Jenkins is the adopted brother of North Carolina guard Nate Britt.
In case you haven’t heard it, Jenkins went to live with the Britt’s at a young age and the Britt family was made his legal guardian. He and the Britt’s are still close with Jenkins’ family, but his mother attributes his success to the influence the Britt’s had on him growing up.
Moving away from your family - even to live with close friends - is a tough situation for a kid and Jenkins has responded positively from the experience. He’s a mature young adult with a great work ethic and has turned in one of the most memorable Villanova careers of all-time. That maturity will suit him well as he goes out on his own.
Jenkins’ best attributes are his positional flexibility, shooting, and basketball IQ. He’s a hard worker that constantly plays with a chip on his shoulder and that will serve him well as he looks to carve out a professional career.
If he can’t catch on in the NBA, he’ll almost certainly find a roster spot in one of the foreign leagues.