Addition of David Jenkins gives Purdue an answer, but not a savior
Matt Painter swung for the fences this offseason.
If Purdue is going to contend for a Big Ten title next season, a veteran point guard is a must. Jaden Ivey’s rocketeer of a sophomore season was impossible to anticipate in the previous recruiting cycle. Once Ivey departed for likely top-5 status in the NBA Draft, Painter needed to scramble for his replacement.
Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, Painter is kind of new at this transfer portal thing. And it shows. Though Painter courted all the right players, he couldn’t get any of them to commit to Purdue.
Kansas State’s Nijel Pack picked Miami. Iowa State’s Tyrese Hunter chose Texas. In turn, Texas’ Courtney Ramey decided to bolt Austin. He went with Arizona over Purdue and West Virginia. Chattanooga’s Malachi Smith gave Purdue a sniff before selecting Gonzaga.
NIL played a role in Pack’s choice, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it had some factor in the recruitment of the others on the shortlist.
It hardly seems coincidence that outgoing Purdue president Mitch Daniels recently penned a Washington Post op-ed bemoaning the growth of “pay for play” in college sports. Perhaps he was just pouting that Purdue couldn’t purchase a point guard.
Though Painter didn’t hit a home run in the transfer portal, at least he did not strike out, either. This week he hit a solid single that might stretch into a double, adding Utah transfer David Jenkins.
Jenkins will not have the impact that a Pack, Hunter, Ramey or Smith would have. But he is going to provide the Boilermakers with a veteran presence that should minimize their chances of missing next year’s NCAA Tournament.
What David Jenkins brings to the Boilers
Jenkins feels like a compromise of sorts, as he’s not a true point guard. Throughout his career, he’s been a combo guard who is more shooter than passer. And for good reason.
Jenkins is a 40.7% 3-point shooter and 79.9% free-throw shooter for his 4-year career. It all adds up to a career true shooting percentage of 57.3%.
Those shots have been taken in a variety of different arenas.
Jenkins may have already logged more mileage than any Boilermaker who didn’t become an astronaut. After 2 years at South Dakota State, he moved up a notch to UNLV. From there, it was up to the Pac-12 at Utah. Now the Tacoma, Wash. native is making a foray into the Great Lakes region.
It’s no mystery why Purdue would appeal to Jenkins. The Boilers have been in the top 5 nationally in offensive efficiency 3 of the past 5 years. He’ll be able to cut it loose for Painter.
As for what Purdue gets, it’s a guy who can handle the point in a pinch while primarily serving as a calming presence off the ball. And there are going to be pinches.
Jenkins is the only senior in Purdue’s likely top-10 playing rotation. Of the 3 players expected to play point guard, 2 are freshmen.
Purdue’s only experienced point guard, Ethan Morton, inhabited the role of Jenkins last season — a shooting guard who could fill in when needed. Down the stretch, Morton only played the point 6% of the time, according to KenPom.com.
What remains to be seen is how much help Jenkins will provide for Purdue’s sometimes struggling defense. None of his previous stops have reputations for defensive prowess.
Jenkins averages a steal on 0.8% of opposing possessions throughout his career, which puts him roughly halfway between Sasha Stefanovic and Mason Gillis in that department.
Granted, defense can be a difficult thing to quantify statistically. No one tracks a player’s number of ball denials, or how often he forces a bad pass that becomes a turnover. However, the overall defensive numbers for Jenkins’ previous 3 stops certainly hint that scoring will be his much stronger suit.
Of course, that also makes Jenkins an ideal fit for Purdue’s current identity. His strengths are very in line with what Painter looks seeks in recruits.
Just don’t go expecting Jenkins to make a star turn. Given the names Painter tried to bring to West Lafayette, some fans might apply the same level of expectation to Jenkins.
He’s not going to be that kind of player. But he can still fill a role that the Boilers were sorely missing.