After two years of basically the same basketball team Purdue is going to be very different in 2022-23. Gone are lottery pick Jaden Ivey and NBA Draft hopeful Trevion Williams. Guard Sasha Stefanovic elected to not use his COVID year of extra eligibility. Eric Hunter Jr. did elect to use his, but it will be at Butler. Isaiah Thompson was set to be the team’s lone senior, but he is off to Florida Gulf Coast. That leaves a ton of minutes available in the backcourt, and Coach Painter has been actively recruiting a transfer guard for some time. There was playing time to sell, especially with two freshmen guards coming in that will need time to adapt.
Wednesday night coach finally got his man in Utah transfer David Jenkins Jr.
Jenkins is a player taking advantage of his extra year of eligibility, and Purdue will be his fourth stop in college basketball. He began his career at South Dakota State, where he started 54 of 67 games over two seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19. He averaged 16.1 points and 18.7 points for the Jackrabbits, and in 2018-19 he shot an impressive 45.8% from three with almost 8 attempts per game.
In both seasons he played with Mike Daum, who became just the 10th player to score 3,000 career points. In both seasons he was second on the team in scoring to Daum, whow as over 20 ppg per game. The Jackrabbits were pretty good, too. In 2017-18 they went 28-7 and won both the Summit League regular season title at 13-1 and the conference tournament. They earned a 12 seed to the NCAAs where they gave Ohio State a game before losing 81-73. He had 16 points in that game, but it came on 4 of 17 shooting.
In 2018-19 the Jackrabbits were 24-9 and again won the Summit League at 14-2, but were shocked by lowly Western Illinois (a team they had beaten by 20 points just a week earlier) in the first round of the conference tournament. That sent them to the NIT, where they lost at Texas 79-73. Jenkins was 6 for 16 in that game with 19 points. It should be noted that was the same Texas team Carsen Edwards lit up for 40.
After two seasons Jenkins decided to head west, ending up at UNLV in 2019-20. He sat out that season due to the transfer rules at the time, then had a very productive 2020-21 season. He started 20 of 27 games and averaged 14.8 points against a tougher Mountain West Conference slate. The Runnin’ Rebels only finished 12-15 though.
Degree in hand, it was time to transfer again. Last season he was at Utah, where he got his first regular taste of major conference action. He shot 39.6% from three and averaged a career low 8.5 points per game as he made 10 starts over 31 games. He also averaged 19.1 minutes per game, which was the first time in his career he was under 29 mpg. Utah finished 11-20 and missed the postseason.
Which brings him to Purdue. He is listed as a 6’1”, 204 pound guard and he is more of a combo guard than the true point we have been seeking. He has scored 1,857 points in his career, averaging 14.9 per game. He shoots a lot of threes, going 323 of 782 in his career for a solid 41.3% average. He shoots 80% at the line, but averages just 1.4 assists per game over his career.
If I had to rate him on the transfer scale I would say he is a better version of Jahaad Proctor. He is smaller than Proctor by 2 inches, but they put up similar numbers in a low major conference. His two years at South Dakota State are nearly identical to Proctor’s two years at High Point, but Jenkins’ South Dakota State team was much better than Proctor’s High Point.
Jenkins does bring a load of experience, which is needed after Purdue lost its top four guards from this past year. I look for him to take the bulk of Hunter’s minutes, ad also some of Thompson’s. He can come in and be a starter immediately, and with Brandon Newman Purdue has a couple of guys that can shoot the three pretty well. In some of his more notable games last year he had 14 in a 20 point loss to Arizona and 21 in a 20 point loss to a good USC team. He had a few 30+ point games at UNLV, and had an impressive 35 point game against Memphis in 2018-19. This is a guy that can score the basketball and get hot from three, so he could be a bit of a poor man’s Carsen Edwards. He can also get to the line, as he is 336 of 422 in his career there.
Jenkins is an interesting pickup to be sure. His major conference experience is a plus, and his numbers did not fall off that much when you consider he was playing 10-12 minutes less per game than he did in his previous three years. He can provide a needed scoring punch, but consistency will be his key. You can see that from his freshman year at SDSU. In the conference tournament quarterfinal he was a dismal 1 of 10 from the floor and finished with only 3 points. Two days later in the semifinal he was 10 of 15 for 25 points with 5 rebounds as they beat North Dakota State. He then was 10 of 19 with 29 points in the final against South Dakota to send his team to the NCAAs.