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Posted On: 12/29/17 11:44 AM
Many people say that sophomores want to play and juniors want to start, but for Varina junior wing Tyrese Jenkins he wasn’t able to take that path. Last year, Jenkins was the youngest starter on a Varina team that featured three seniors and made it to the state tournament. This year, he’s one of the most experienced players on a young, but talented, Blue Devils team that’s hoping to make it back, plus more.
“This year I have to step up and become a leader, because we have two freshmen and a sophomore starting,” Jenkins said. “I know I have to be a role model for them and let them know the right things to do on the floor and lead by example.”
Jenkins saw moderate success early in the season, but he really stepped it up late in the season as he got more of a defined role in the offense and found his niche. The 6’6” wing has a soft touch from outside, and he’s able to rebound like a big man but pull defending big men out of the paint for his guards to be able to attack the wing.
His early success didn’t go unnoticed from college, as he picked up offers from Hampton and Norfolk State this past summer. Other programs that I have reached out so far this season include UNCG, Lafayette and Mount St. Mary’s, according to him.
The difference between Jenkins this year and last year is like night and day. At the beginning of last season, he seemed a little timid, relying mostly on his perimeter jump shot and seemed okay with being a designated shooter on a team with other options. This year, he’s been a go-to guy, has put up big numbers in both scoring and on the glass, and it has as much to do with confidence as anything else.
“I was always working on my jump shot and my handle, and I focused on trying to get my defense better with my footwork, he said. “But the main thing that’s changed has been my confidence. I know I have to go into the game confident because I know what I can do and who I can play with.”
As for his future at the next level, Jenkins knows that there’s still work to do, because being 6’6” doesn’t mean he’ll be able to play over top smaller players all the time.
“I have to keep playing hard and continue to get quicker. I know that in college I’m going to play mostly on the wing, and those guards are going to be pretty quick so I’m going to have get my quickness up.”
With his improvement in production and confidence, Jenkins looks like he’s ready to be one of the breakout players in not just Richmond, but the whole state. Coaches are going to want to flock to the Varina gym, but he not only has the size to be a division one wing, but he causes mismatches and still has a lot of room to grow and improve, and with that his recruitment should increase a lot over the next year before he’s a senior.