Kris Jenkins has entered himself into the history books with his shot that won the 2016 NCAA Championship for Villanova. I had the privilege to coach Kris during his Junior and Senior years at Gonzaga College High School in Washington DC. Kris has a welcoming personality and was a pleasure to coach. One of my roles as an assistant coach was to run the big man workouts each day. Kris would battle everyday with the other big men, all who went on to play college ball. What separated Kris was his footwork, soft touch and size. While he is only 6’5’’ he could maneuver his strong body to get where he needed to be. He had that knack. The big question high major programs would ask about Kris was who was he going to guard at the next level? Would he be too small to guard a 4 or too slow to guard a 3? All of this was predicated on him getting his weight down. We all knew that once he got to college that he would gain more muscle and shed the weight. His college coach would make that imperative.
There are two games that stand out to me in his high school career. The first was when we played Whitney Young and Jahlil Okafor on an ESPN televised game. The first half our 6’9’’ Loyola recruit was having a hard time stopping Okafor. We were down at half. We made an adjustment to put Kris on the future lottery pick and the game turned in our favor after that. Kris shut down Jahlil and we went on to win the game. To not be surprised by his game winning shot you only have to look as far as our game against Aquille “The Crimestopper” Carr. In a packed house at Coolidge High School Kris ended a 10 point comeback in the final quarter with a dagger at the buzzer. When he released his shot in the championship game in Houston I felt pretty good that it was going in, because this was not the first time he had been in this spot.