Many times we look at NBA Draft prospects coming from mid-major college programs and use that fact as a negative when analyzing their ability. We say they have not faced NBA quality competition or even top college competition. But after watching the NCAA tournament the past few years, we have learned some of these mid-major teams have plenty of talent, especially in the Colonial Athletic Association.
We have all learned just how good the CAA is, with VCU reaching the Final Four this past season and George Mason reaching the Final Four several years ago. Charles Jenkins of Hofstra has been the best player in the conference the past two seasons and is now a potential first round draft pick. Some also believe Jenkins might be the biggest sleeper in the entire draft. Personally, I like him because I am a Hofstra graduate and also know he is good enough to be a quality player in the NBA. Luke Winn of SI.com writes how Jenkins is the best scoring guard in the entire draft and provides ISO and spot up numbers to prove it.
In his senior season, Jenkins led Hofstra to a 21 win season (14-4 in the CAA) and won CAA player of the year for the second straight year. He was sixth in the country in scoring, averaging 22.6 a game and shot over 51 percent from the field, 42 percent from three, and 82 percent from the free-throw line. The 51 percent from the field is very impressive considering many of his shots are coming from outside the paint. You do not see many guards shooting that high of a percentage no matter who the competition is.
Jenkins is listed at 6’3″ and 220 pounds. He played point guard in college, but will probably be used more as a shooting guard in the NBA—some comparisons he is receiving are to OJ Mayo and Randy Foye. I also look at him as being a similar type of player to Toney Douglas, but bigger, stronger, and probably a better passer. The problem Jenkins faces is as a 6’3″ shooting guard: He is undersized at the position and will constantly face players who are much bigger than him, similar to the players I just compared him to. Mayo, Foye, and Douglas are all good NBA players though, so it is no insult for Jenkins to be compared to them.
Most NBA draft sites have Jenkins as a late first round to early second round pick. At the 17th pick in the first round for the Knicks, Jenkins would be a reach. The Knicks do not have a second round pick, so unless they trade for one they won’t be able to get him. The Knicks could also trade down from the 17th pick and acquire a pick later in the first round where Jenkins is slotted to be taken, but I just don’t know if the Knicks would be heavily interested in drafting him. They could use a point guard, but he is not a traditional point guard. The team also severely lacks size and is more likely to use a first round pick on a player that can provide them with that attribute.
If you read my article on Jimmer Fredette, I spoke about the uncertainty in the Knicks front office. Who is making the decision on draft day? If Mike D’Antoni has a lot of say in the pick, I can see him having an interest in Jenkins. He has a great ability to score from the guard position, a must in the D’Antoni system, but it is yet to be determined if he could handle the point guard responsibilities of the NBA, which could cause the Knicks to pass on him. If you look at the scouting reports, that is a major question about him. The Knicks might look at him as being another Toney Douglas and not feel the need to draft a player of similar traits.