As a basketball fan, I have always had a love for the lesser known, obscure and/or under-appreciated. At school, when most kids were wearing Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal or Michael Jordan jerseys, I was wearing Bobby Hurley, Derek Harper and Dino Radja.
This is my open tribute to the lesser known players in today’s game. This is Spotted On the Pine.
Name: Charles Jenkins
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Jersey Number: 31
Rookie Year: 2011-12
Drafted: 2011, Round 2 – 44th overall
Twitter: @CTJenkins22 (former account, no longer appears open)
Hofstra Pride. That isn’t just being proud of your school. The official mascot of Hofstra University in Heampstead, New York is The Pride and they have a pretty sweet lion/lioness logo to boot.
Charles Jenkins may be a player making Spotted on the Pine so far not getting much notice in his NBA career but if you talk to anyone familiar with the Colonial Athletic Association, the conference where Hofstra resides, Jenkins is pretty much a legend.
Jenkins, born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, was selected by the New York Times as part of the All-New York City Team while in high school before playing college ball with the Pride.
After a being redshirted during his time as a true Freshman, Jenkins debuted with Hofstra in 2007-08 and in 29 games was 10th in the conference in scoring and first overall among Freshman, which led Charles to being named as the CAA Rookie of the Year, among other local accolades.
By his sophomore season, Jenkins earned New York’s prestigious Haggerty Award, an annual award for the New York metropolitan’s best Division I basketball player. The victory made Jenkins only the fifth sophomore in the seventy-three year history of the award to win it, and first since Ron Artest of St. John’s won in 1999.
The collegiate accolades would continue, as his Junior season was met with a second Haggerty Award, becoming only the ninth person to be a repeat winner, and the Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.
If that wasn’t enough, Jenkins won the Haggerty Award one final time in his senior season, putting him in very elite company. Two men had previous won three of these: Jim McMillian, who won from 1968-1970 while playing at Columbia, and Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, winning 1983-1985 as a member of the Red Storm at St. John’s.
When all was said and done, Charles Jenkins ended his Hofstra career as the second all-time leading scorer in CAA history with 2,463, only behind another Hall of Famer, David Robinson who scored 2,669 while playing for Navy.
As the all-time leading scorer for the Pride, Jenkins had his jersey retired prior to the final home game of his senior season, an honor only four men have received at Hofstra. Jenkins was the first to have his number retired while still an active member of the team.
With an illustrious collegiate career in a lesser noticed conference, Jenkins ramped up for the NBA draft and was selected in the mid-second round, going 44th overall to the Golden State Warriors.
Being a draftee in 2011, the start of Jenkins NBA journey would be put on hold due to the league entering a lockout. Jenkins would pass the time by joining Teramo Basket in Italy during the lockout. Teramo signed Jenkins when they realized he was available and passed over a guy who would’ve been in a Spotted on the Pine article at the time but not any longer, Jeremy Lin.
With an NBA-out placed in his contract, Jenkins returned to the US at the end of the lockout and headed for Oakland, signing his contact and officially becoming an NBA player on December 9, 2011. In this move, Jenkins once again displaced Jeremy Lin and became the Warriors only backup point guard at the time.
During the Opening Day/ Christmas Day Warriors-Clippers matchup, Jenkins made his NBA debut. Although he only received one minute on the court, Jenkins managed to get one assist. Shortly after, Stephen Curry would go down to injury and while the Warriors would pick up Ish Smith and Nate Robinson, Jenkins would be thrust into the starting lineup within his first month of his career.
Jenkins would spend his rookie year as a solid contributor for the young Warriors, starting several games, including the entire month of April (which due to the lockout, was much longer than most seasons). Jenkins would turn in a few double-double performances throughout the season but achieved his career high in scoring dropping 27 points in Portland during a loss to the Trail Blazers.
After a productive showing in the Vegas Summer League, Jenkins returned for a sophomore season with the Warriors. In August, his contract became guaranteed but due to other offseason acquisitions such as veteran point guard Jarrett Jack, Charles would see his playing time greatly reduced. While still getting a few minutes in most games, Jenkins went from an occasional starter, to playing at most ten minutes a game.
At the trade deadline in February, the Warriors decided to shed some salary for their playoff bound team and moved a couple young players for peanuts, in an effort to free cap space. Jenkins was sent to the struggling Philadelphia 76ers on February 23, 2013.
Much like his start in Golden State, Jenkins impressed quickly enough to be starting within weeks of arrival. On March 8th, in an effort to shake up matchups with the defending champion Miami Heat, Doug Collins put Jenkins in the starting lineup. While not making a huge impact in his lone 76ers start, Jenkins became victim of the depth at guard in Philadelphia. The 76ers were giving heavy minutes to stars Evan Turner and their 2013 All-Star Jrue Holiday, as well as proven veterans Dorell Wright, Nick Young and Damien Wilkins. The Sixers even waived former Gonzaga product Jeremy Pargo in favor of Jrue’s older brother, Justin Holiday, at the start of April.
At the end of the season, Jenkins watched his rookie contract end and will likely spend the 2013 offseason finding a new team to audition for. In his two seasons, even with limited playing time, Jenkins has already achieved much more than many studs out of mid-majors can dream of accomplishing in the NBA.
However, Jenkins has already proven himself as someone that can be productive and contribute, if given an adequate chance.
I write this article to salute and give notice to what Charles Jenkins has made out of his NBA opportunity to date, and I hope we get another chance to see more out of this Hofstra Legend.
Hofstra logo courtesy of The Official Hofstra Athletics site
Photo of Jenkins found at Buzz on Broad