Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top Pre-Season Top 25 Player Countdown for the 2016-17 season. Each day, we’ll be publishing a new article counting down our best 25 players for the coming season. Today, we feature #23 De’Riante Jenkins of VCU.
What’s He’s Done
Well, up to this point, not a damn thing in college basketball. However, as the 44th-ranked player in 247Sports.com’s national composite rankings, Jenkins enters this year as the highest ranked incoming A-10 player and does so on what has been the league’s most consistent team the past four seasons.
Jenkins climbed his way up the national rankings by dominating on Hargrave Military Academy’s post-grad squad, earning National Prep Championship MVP honors this past season in a 47-1 campaign that saw him average nearly 22 points per contest. The freshman chipped in 14 points per game this summer during VCU’s tour through Spain and could make an immediate impact on a VCU team that is talented from top to bottom.
What He’ll Do
Jenkins will be VCU’s freshman Swiss Army knife this season, giving Will Wade and Co. whatever the Rams need from the South Carolina native in hopes of returning VCU to the NCAA tournament for the seventh consecutive season. Earlier this summer Wade referred to Jenkins as “a unique talent,” telling the Richmond Times Dispatch “he shoots it a little bit better than we thought. He’s been working hard on that. He’s a tremendous player in the open court. He will certainly help us defensively. He gives us some length. He’s a legit 6-6 and has almost a 7-foot wingspan. He allows some versatility on offense with his skill set. We need to continue to put weight on him (listed at 185 pounds).”
Think of Jenkins as a higher-ceiling Korey Billbury, the 6’4 Oral Roberts grad transfer who gave the black and gold 28 minutes and 11.2 points per game this past season. Jenkins’ ability to defend and his versatility — the ability to play three positions (2,3,4) — will earn him early minutes, but the gifts he possesses that saw him climb the 2016 high school rankings are what makes him a potential future star and eventual NBA hopeful for the Rams. I’d pencil VCU’s new star freshman in for around 16 minutes per game this season. Anything more and he’s likely the A-10 Rookie of the Year.
Previously: #24 Shavar Newkirk