Michael Jenkins is a 27 year old 192 cm guard from Kinston, North Carolina that currently is playing for Pallacanestro Cantu (Italy-SerieA. He played at Winthrop(NCAA) from 2004-2008. He didn´t play as much his first two seasons, but got increased playing time in his junior and senior years. As a junior, he averaged 14.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 45.9%, 3PTConf-1(41.5%), FT: 70.2% in 34 games. In his senior year, he played 34 games and averaged 13.9ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PTConf-6(36.8%), FT: 71.3%: and finished his career as the 10th leading scorer in Winthrop history with 1,253 points. With Winthrop, he was the Big South Conf. Regular Season Champion in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and won the Big South Conf Tournament from 2005-2008. He was named to the Big South Conf. All-Tournament Team in 2007 and 2008. In his first professional season 2008-2009, he was drafted by the Albany Patrons of the CBA and in November 2008 signed with the Albany Patroons playing 3 games and averaging 6.7ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 47.4%, but left during the season and moved to BC Buducnost Podgorica (Bosnia-1A) . In the 2009-2010 season he came to Germany and played for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. In the 2010-2011 season he played for Belgacom Liege Basket (Belgium-D1) playing EuroCup Qualifying Round: 2 games: 11.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.0spg; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 12.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 84.6%; Belgian League: 13 games: 12.6ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.5apg, Steals-1(2.8spg), FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 78.3%. In the 2011-2012 he played for Optima Gent (Belgium-D1) playing 29 games: 13.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 75.6%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Centrale del Latte Brescia (Italy-Lega2): 38 games: 17.0ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.4apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 79.6%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Eurocup game against ratiopharm Ulm today
Michael thanks for talking to German Hooops. It has been four seasons since you last played for a German team Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Is there anything in particular that you miss about the German league and lifestyle?
Wow 4 years time definitely does fly man. The things I miss the most about the German league is how entertaining it was. I really used to enjoy how professional it felt having the preseason photo shoots and having the lights cut off during the pregame introductions with videos. As far as the lifestyle, I really miss drinking Apfelschorle. Everytime I get a chance to step foot in Germany I must have one (haha).
After two seasons in Belgium, you have continued to move yourself up in Europe going to the Italian Lega 2 last season and this season playing for Pallacanestro Cantu (Italy-SerieA). How happy have you been with your development as a professional basketball player? I remember with our interviews during your Germany year that you always had that extra special self confidence that had me thinking that you would continue to go places.
I’m very happy with my development as a professional. I would’ve been to this level a lot sooner but my first year in Belgium I had to have season ending surgery on my shooting arm. That ended up setting my career back tremendously. The season I had in Tubingen really put me on the radar of a lot of clubs. I’m still not satisfied and where I want to be so i’m going to continue to keep working hard.
You and Cantu are high up in the standings this season. Do you think that anything will change up there with some team coming from behind and where will Cantu be at the end of the season?
I feel like the top 5 teams will be the top 5 teams all season. Maybe spots will change here and there, but for the most part stay the same. I feel we will finish just as we are at the moment a top 3 team.
What exactly is your role on the team and how much fun is it playing at the two spot with explosive player point guard Joe Ragland?
I honestly do not know my role exactly, but personally I feel it is to provide just an all around spark to the team and be aggressive no matter what. Both offensively and defensively. Playing with Joe is very exciting. We both played for the same college coach, (me when he was at Winthrop and him at Wichita State) so we clicked on the court immediately.
Your coming off a huge game in Eurocup play against Nantere with 29 points where you connected on six three pointers the most this season with your six threes against Oostende. Your confidence level must be high. Do you usually know early on in your first few shots where your shooting night will end on a positive or not positive note?
I never lose confidence in my scoring ability, it’s just more of a matter of if it’s smart or beneficial to the team to force when i’m not in a rhythm, and majority of the time it’s never beneficial at this level. Most of the time I can tell what kind of shooting night I will have, however, I’m the type of player that can start the game 1 for 5 and finish the game shooting over 50%.
You see amazing rivalries in the NCAA, in Italy or Spain, but how intense was the Ulm-Tubingen games when you played in Germany? Is their a particular game that you remember or play?
That Ulm-Tubingen rivalry was very intense. I will never forget beating them at home for the first game, and then losing to them the last game of the season on a buzzer beater by Robin Benzing. We had that game won and he saved the day for them.
What do you remember most from the 106-97 shoot out loss to ratiopharm Ulm? Edgar Sosa had the hot hand with seven three pointers?
Just how poor defensively we played, but also just how well they shot the ball. Especially in the first half. Edgar Sosa was absolutely unconscious that game. He played an extremely great game scoring wise and had a team high for assists.
Cantu needs a road win in Ulm. What kind of game can we expect and what will be key to coming out of Ulm with a victory?
You can expect a very intense game. You have 2 teams that need to win to advance to the top 16. To come out of Ulm with a win we must defend better, play smarter, and just be prepared to fight both physically and mentally.
You have played together with many great point guards in your career, and where would you stack up Bane Ratkovica with all the point guards that you have played with?
Bane was definitely one the best point guards I’ve had the luxury of sharing the backcourt with during my career so far. His passing ability and vision was definitely high level in my opinion.
Romeo Travis is playing a solid season for Khimik-OPZ Yuzny (Ukraine-Superleague). What do miss most from him on and off the court? I guess that buzzer beater against Bamberg will always be in your mind?
Yea Romeo is playing well for Khimik-OPZ Yuzny. I talk to him often. Rome was just an overall great person to be around on and off the court. You always knew he was going to bring it on the court and be a great friend off the court. Yea that play against Bamberg will never be forgotten (haha).
Were you disappointed how poor the NBA slam dunk contest was? Are the players running out of dunk ideas or are their too little new Vince Carters coming up on the horizon?
Yea I was pretty irritated by it. I wasn’t fond of the East vs. West theme, but even with that they should’ve had the 3 members of the East team have a dunk off to determine the overall champion. No, I feel there are still dunks that haven’t been seen before in the NBA dunk contest.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
I actually haven’t watched a DVD in a very long time.
Thanks Mike for the chat.