February 23rd, 2006.
Loren Stokes scored 26 points as the Hofstra Pride beat the George Mason Patriots at home by 11 points. Their next stop was March 5th, 2006. Loren Stokes, Hofstra’s fourth-leading scorer of all time, scored 20 points as the Pride beat the Patriots once again by a score of 58-49.
Selection Sunday came and the Pride were left out of the “Big Dance” as George Mason was selected to be an 11th seed in the NCAA tournament. Their next loss came on April Fool’s Day against the Joakim Noah-led Florida Gators in Indianapolis…in the Final Four.
2006 was the last time Hofstra was even considered a tournament-worthy team and never has had a player with such prominence, until now.
Photographers were anxious to capture the moment when Charles Jenkins, one of the nation’s leading scorers, witnessed his jersey being unveiled in the rafters before his final home game. Raising his jersey with pride, the crowd erupted, giving Jenkins even more motivation for a win. The No. 22 Jenkins wears is a symbol that is worn as a tribute to his brother who passed away at the young age of 22, and Jenkins dedicates each and every game to his brother.
Just 24 seconds into the game against the Fightin’ Blue Hens of the University of Delaware, Jenkins showed that he was ready for another one of his sensational performances by drilling a three-pointer. With just five minutes remaining, Shemiye McClendon made a thrilling pass to Jenkins who used his “NFL linebacker-stature” to barrel his way to the basket.
That was the last basket Jenkins would score in a game at the Mack Sports Complex. In between those two baskets, Jenkins scored 16 points in Hofstra’s 20th victory by the score of 79-60, but what really impressed me about Jenkins was his leadership.
His quickness, scoring ability, and crazy ball handling skills are what may impress NBA scouts watching Jenkins, but what caught my eye were how Jenkins handled himself. First, Jenkins didn’t pull a John Wall and do a little dance or Dougie as he walked through the tunnel to walk onto the court. Instead, Jenkins made sure he high-fived all 16 children who beamed as Jenkins strolled by with his hood and a smile on. What may injure Jenkins’ draft status is how he disappears on the court for a period of time, but to me, that was the way I discovered how unselfish Jenkins plays.
On the court, you could mistake Jenkins for Beethoven when he conducts his teammates on where to move leading up to one of Hofstra’s 30 field goals. If the statistic for assists included who ever passed it to the player who received the assist, like in hockey, I would write in Jenkins as the leader in the NCAA for the Brad Wolff Basketball Assist Statistic. To sum up what I’m saying, Charles Jenkins defines a team player.
There’s a large percentage of players in the NBA who could be deemed selfish. This paragraph is the SparkNotes edition of “Why to Draft Charles Jenkins in the NBA Draft”
· Lethal crossover
· Nothing less than a team player
· Will do whatever it takes to play in the NBA
· Clutch (Don’t believe me, watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nySUqQA53UQ)
“Jenkins could play in the Big East…Got an opportunity to play on the next level”
-Jim Calhoun, Coach of UConn’s Men’s Basketball
“He is a unique blend of basketball skills, power, strength and quickness, making him a nightmare for CAA opponents to defend.”
-Fran Fraschilla, ESPN
Head in a towel, jersey over his face, crying. That’s what went down with about a minute remaining. Jenkins isn’t done wearing his No. 22 jersey yet as Hofstra will play in the CAA conference tournament next weekend for a chance to play in March Madness for the first time in a decade. First, though they may have to go through George Mason.
Brad Wolff is the editor of TheKingofSportsBlog.com and TheSportsLead.com. At 14 years old, Wolff has interviewed over 60 athletes including many Hall of Fame athletes. You can follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Wolff where he will communicate with you almost immediately.