Jenkins has potential to become next SDSU basketball star, NBA draft pick

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One of the pleasant surprises for the South Dakota State men’s basketball team has been freshman guard David Jenkins Jr.

In his first season, Jenkins is averaging 15.3 points per game, which is second on the team. He is shooting 45 percent from three and is tied with junior forward Mike Daum for three-pointers made with 54.

Right now he’s on pace to break Daum’s freshman scoring record of 518 that he set in the 2015-16 season. Heading into the Saturday’s game against Denver, Jenkins had scored 295 points in 20 games. Daum had only 258 points in 20 games during his record setting season.

If he does not pass Daum he will likely pass Matt Caldwell, who scored 453 points in 2005-06.

Jenkins scored 27 points on 8-14 shooting, including four three-pointers. It was the sixth time this season that Jenkins scored more than 20 points and the 17th time that he scored more than 10 points. He scored a career-high 31 points Dec. 15 against Colorado.

Before the season started, head coach T.J. Otzelberger said that Jenkins is a natural scorer and would have the chance to be special.

Otzelberger was right. Daum gets most of the attention for the Jacks, and it’s well deserved considering he is averaging 23.5 points per game, but Jenkins will have the opportunity to be SDSU’s next star once Daum leaves.

Daum will likely get drafted into the NBA after his senior season next year and that is when it will be Jenkins’ turn to lead the Jacks. He has a smooth jump shot and scores the ball efficiently, shooting 43 percent from the field and 40 percent from three.

It will be interesting to see how he develops in an SDSU uniform and how he handles being the main guy. Otzelberger said if Jenkins wants to become a great player instead of a really good player he needs to improve defensively.

There are times when Jenkins doesn’t stay engaged, especially when the ball isn’t in the hands of guy he is guarding.

If Jenkins can improve on the defensive side of the ball, he will have a chance to get drafted to the NBA like Daum.

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