David Jenkins is from Tacoma, Washington, but spent the past three years in the Midwest, first at a prep school in Kansas and then two seasons at South Dakota State.
He’s ready to make the West his home again.
And he will, but whether it will be playing for UNLV, Gonzaga or Oregon isn’t expected to be known until Thursday or Friday. Jenkins, one of the nation’s top transfers, began a two-day official visit to UNLV on Saturday. His former South Dakota State coach is current Rebels coach T.J. Otzelberger.
“If you look at his first press conference, he said he wanted to bring the lights back to UNLV, how it used to be when all those great players came out of there and how they used to compete for the national championship,” Jenkins said. “I have the ultimate confidence that he will do that. A lot of coaches will say certain things to make it sound good in that moment, but he is so determined to win at a high level that I have no doubt that he’s going to bring the lights back to UNLV.
“I don’t even feel like that’s a rebuilding statement. I think he’s going to win right away.”
Jenkins, a 6-foot-2-inch guard, has two seasons of eligibility remaining, but would have to sit out a year under NCAA transfer rules.
He averaged 19.7 points last season for the Jackrabbits and made 45.3 percent of his 3-point shots. The Stadium’s Jeff Goodman ranks Jenkins the nation’s second-best transfer.
If Jenkins chooses the Rebels, he would be playing for a familiar face in Otzelberger. The two developed a bond that goes back to when Jenkins played for Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas.
“That’s one of the big reasons (UNLV is) in my top three right now is because of him and how much I know he’s invested in me as a player and person overall,” Jenkins said. “I know his system offensive and defensivewise. He likes to get up and down quick and shoot 3s, get high percentage shots. If you look at South Dakota State, we were one of the more efficient teams in the whole country. He has a really good defensive philosophy as well.”
There also are reasons for Jenkins to choose Gonzaga and Oregon, two programs with a more recent history of winning at a high level that are closer to his Tacoma home. Jenkins said he liked how both coaches allow the guards to have a lot of freedom.
This is a big weekend for UNLV, as it tries to finalize its recruiting. Along with Jenkins, Texas graduate transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long is taking an official visit. Mitrou-Long, a 6-1 guard who averaged 5.6 points last season, would be eligible to play next season.
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