David Jenkins leaves the door open for a return to UNLV

David Jenkins became the seventh UNLV player to hit the transfer portal last night. And his loss will be felt, if he does leave.

Jenkins posted a farewell tweet, but left the door open for a return to UNLV.

“I believe it is in my best interest as a player to re-open my recruitment and explore my options. This does not mean I will definitely be leaving UNLV, but I want to be able to explore other schools that will give me the best opportunity to achieve my dreams,” Jenkins shared on Twitter.

I’d still expect Jenkins to leave, but players can return to their school after entering the transfer portal.

Despite disappointing after coming over from South Dakota State, Jenkins was still an extremely effective shooter. He drilled 41 percent of his threes and averaged over 14 points per game. 

But Jenkins struggled defensively, had no ability to create his own shot (other than pull up mid-range jumpers) and had his leadership questioned by T.J. Otzelberger throughout the year. 

But what Otzelberger told the media in public paled in comparison to what he told Jenkins in private. 

From Mike Grimala of the Las Vegas Sun:

“According to a source, Otzelberger soured on Jenkins during the course of the 2020-21 season. Midway through the campaign, Otzelberger summoned Jenkins to a one-on-one meeting in which the coach told Jenkins he would not have a place on the UNLV roster in 2021-22. According to the source, Otzelberger told Jenkins he did not enjoy coaching him anymore.”

That is brutal. 

Now Jenkins has refuted the report, claiming on Twitter that it was false.

Jenkins was benched on February 6 in a matchup with Air Force. He came off the bench in seven straight games before jumping back into the starting lineup for the last five games. 

But what is hard to understand is Otzelberger’s handling of the situation. Why tell a player he won’t be on the team next season with 12 games left?

Credit to Jenkins for not quitting on the team once he was told he no longer had a roster spot beyond the current season. 

UNLV’s offense was searching for answers all season and Jenkins, though inconsistent, was one of the best options to light up the scoreboard. Risking Jenkins leaving the team on the spot was a curious move by Otzelberger.

Combine this bizarre meeting with Desiree-Reed Francois stating that she and Otzelberger had conversations during the season about the Iowa State job, it makes Otzleberger’s in-season priorities seem strange to say the least. 

Replacing Jenkins can be done with the transfer portal. His top skill was shooting and there are shooters available. But Kevin Kruger has yet to secure a commitment from a transfer, and until he does, Jenkins departure leaves a big hole. 

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