Jenkins has worked to become more than a 3-point shooter because of some of the ways opposing teams work to defend him. That may include driving to the basket more often when he sees an open gap.
The sophomore shooter who leads the SEC in scoring (19.5) is picked up by defenders “in weird areas, probably areas that most people don’t get picked up.” And not only when he has the ball.
“They do whole bunch of things. I can’t name them all, but it’s crazy. … I’ve gotten a box and one, stuff like that. Basically, they try to eliminate any shots I can have,” Jenkins said. “Like, if someone drives, they won’t leave me to give help. They’ll stay on me, basically just shadowing me wherever I go.”
In the event that Vanderbilt and Syracuse match up in the national championship game _ the only way they could meet in this tournament _ Jenkins is the kind of shooter that the Orangemen would spend a lot of time preparing to defend.
Opponents have taken 743 3-pointers against Syracuse _ only three of the other 345 Division I teams have had more long-range shots attempted against them. But the Orangemen with their nasty 2-3 zone have allowed only 31 percent of those to go in because of their preparation.
“We do a great job rotating and identifying the shooters, knowing who is going to get the ball, identifying who’s been hot and who’s been making shots,” Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine said. “We talk about all that stuff in practice and before the game.”
The Orangemen, who play Indiana State in their NCAA opener, spend extra time in practice defending 3-pointers because of all the switching they do in their zone.
“The biggest thing is rotation and communication,” Jardine said. “We’re always talking out there, always communicating with each other.”
AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta contributed to this report from New York.