David Jenkins Jr. Has actually yet to obtain going because that UNLV basketball, which lost a 3rd straight game to open the season, falling come Alabama 86-74 ~ above Tuesday night.

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UNLV Rebels security David Jenkins Jr. (5) dribbles the ball previous Montana State Bobcats during the first half of the season opener at the thomas & Mack Center, top top Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in ras Vegas. (Elizabeth page Brumley/Las vegas Review-Journal)

ASHEVILLE. N.C.

My eyes followed David Jenkins Jr. On Tuesday night.

Every pass. Every shot. Every cut. Every make. Every miss.

Followed the male who is expected to do so much for UNLV basketball this season.

The Rebels stayed winless in 3 tries, falling to Alabama 86-74 in a Maui Invitational consolation bracket game at Harrah’s Cherokee Center.

Jenkins is the junior deliver from south Dakota State, the security who followed T.J. Otzelberger to UNLV once the latter was named head coach critical year.

I’m not sure which one landed on campus with an ext fanfare, although the truth Otzelberger come in a helicopter type of afforded the the edge.

The exaggeration train

It have the right to be unfair, the hype and expectations bestowed on a move player by assorted forces, be it his coach or the media or pan hoping your excitement will be justified.

You would be surprised exactly how loud specific whispers around a player come to be when he is practicing behind closed doors because that a year. Surprised exactly how embellished evaluations are many of the time.

But we’re additionally talking about a UNLV routine that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2013. Its fan base isn’t simply hungry because that a win product. It’s starving. Like crawling through the Sahara for days in July famished v no food and also water.

So as soon as it’s said a player choose Jenkins could be the missing piece to UNLV again existing amongst the best Mountain West teams and, in turn, one NCAA-worthy side, assumptions are made before he ever laces them increase for genuine in a Rebels uniform.

To say the he has actually struggled is an understatement. Jenkins is averaging 7.6 points when shooting just 22 percent; he has also made simply 6 that 23 3s. His defense is serious lacking, but that shows up status quo with UNLV guards. There isn’t an above-average perimeter defender amongst them.

The Rebels haven’t, except for sophomore Caleb Grill, shoot the round well in ~ all. Grill was fantastic in the loss Tuesday, scoring a career-high 27 if making 7 of 12 3s. Jenkins scored 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting. He had no rebounds and also one aid in 24 minutes.

“David has been a man who has constantly had a chip on his shoulder, a guy who has constantly been doubted,” Otzelberger said. “We need to obtain David ago to that guy. I have to take ~ above that push for the with few of the accolades and recognitions that have come his way. I must wear that and also take the on.

“He just needs to relax and also be that male from Tacoma who dropped in love with this game with the chip top top his shoulder and also played hard.”

There is likewise this: regardless of Otzelberger having said some of Jenkins’ ideal games at southern Dakota State came against non-conference teams from strength conferences, the change from a Summit league existence to currently was constantly going to take it time.

North Carolina and also Alabama are huge steps up. The mountain West will be a huge step up. He will be guarded by more length and also athleticism 보다 he saw with the Jackrabbits.

He additionally played v Mike Daum — among the finest college players at any level — at southern Dakota State. Jenkins doesn’t have actually near the level that a frontcourt risk to play turn off of now. The onus is an ext on him come produce. It’s difficult for him appropriate now simply to develop space. That can’t gain going in ~ either end yet.

Figure points out

He have the right to score. You don’t typical 20 points and also shoot 46 percent top top 3s together a sophomore and also forget exactly how to find the basket. Yet things haven’t gone well thus much for that or the Rebels, who next face Davidson in the seventh-place video game Wednesday night at 6:30 top top ESPN2.

“There to be a pair moments tonight when we experienced glimpses (with Jenkins),” Otzelberger said. “I recognize what he have the right to do and he needs to stay the course by embracing the points that are daunting like defending and also rebounding. And then i think his offense will certainly come earlier to him.”

Three games is just that. Nothing.

So in the people of expectations, enable David Jenkins Jr. Time to number things out.

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After all, the wasn’t him who fired up the hype train.

Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi award winner because that sports column writing and can be got to at egraney
neurosoup.org or 702-383-4618. He have the right to be heard on “The push Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, indigenous 7 a.m. To 10 a.m. Monday with Friday. Monitor