Michael Jenkins is a 31 year old 192 cm guard from Kinston, North Carolina that currently is playing his tenth professional season and first with Umana Reyer Venezia (Italy-Serie A). Last season he played with Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) playing 17 BCL games averaging 11.7ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 83.8%; In the Greek A1 he played 19 game averaging 9.9ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 44.8%, 3FGP: 39.3%, FT: 75.0%, in Mar.’17 moved to The Flexx Pistoia (Italy-Serie A) playing 11 games averaging 10.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 95.5. Over the years he has gained valuable experience playing in countries like Belgium, Italy and Germany where he played with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen in the 2009-2010 season playing 34 games averaging 14.0ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-3(1.9spg), FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 72.6%. He played at Winthrop(NCAA) from 2004-2008 playing a total of 131 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games averaging 13.9ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PTConf-6(36.8%), FT: 71.3%: He finished his career as the 10th leading scorer in Winthrop history with 1,253 points. He spoke to German Hoops after the Basketball Champions League loss to medi Bayreuth.
Thanks Mike for talking to German Hoops. We spoke last season when you were playing with Aris before a Basketball Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners. This season your playing with Umana Reyer Venezia (Italy-Serie A). Your had a shoot around in the Oberfrankenhalle in Bayreuth before the game against medi Bayreuth. With so many seasons, teams and opponents is setting foot in an arena for the first time still exciting or has that excitement worn down a bit over the years?
It’s still exciting sometimes but it has definitely worn down a bit.
Umana Reyer Venezia (Italy-Serie A) are having a very strong season in Serie A and are in a dogfight for position 2 in the Basketball Champions League with three other teams. What do you feel has been the secret of the success of the team this season?
There’s no secret. It’s been our coaching, our talent, work ethic, our fan support, and a bit of luck in some of the close games
The club recently picked up ex NBA player Austin Daye. How important was this signing and what kind of extra dimension will he give the team?
It’s definitely an important signing after losing Orelik. He adds a lot of versatility.
Umana Reyer Venezia (Italy-Serie A) biggest strength in the Serie A has been their crunch-time nerves. In games decided by 5 points or less you have an amazing 8-1 record. Is it only experience that has been the reason for also the unique characters of veterans like Michael Bramos, Dominique Johnson, Marquez Haynes and yourself that have been around the block more than once in basketball Europe and know the ropes.
Yea we have been very fortunate in close games. Experience definitely helps but I can’t say that’s the only reason we’ve won all those close ones.
You have many talented players including Michael Bramos who has the most Euroleague experience on the team. Is he a guy that even you at age 30 can still profit from on and off the court?
Like you stated before we have plenty of experience on this team so you can profit from each person at some point.
One guy that returns each season and doesn´t slow down is 31 year old ex Boston College standout Marquez Haynes. He has won titles in Italy, France, Israel and Greece and played some seasons of Euroleague. What have you appreciated most about his presence on and off the court?
I’ve appreciated his leadership. He’s in his 2nd season here as the starting pg so he has real understanding for what our coach wants here.
Let´s talk about your game. Last season with Aris I stated a fact in that you have been a scorer your whole life and asked if anything was different there. You answered. “No my role is still the same on this team, but I also know and am ok with the fact that I may not always get the most shots or score the most points every night. I just want to do whatever is best for the team on any given night”. But this season your averaging 13 minutes in the Serie A and 17 minutes in the BCL the lowest since your brief rookie season in 2008-2009 with BC Buducnost Podgorica (Bosnia-1A). Has it been tough accepting less minutes?
Yes, it has been very tough. At the end of the day though it’s still always about the team.
What exactly is your role this season. You can´t score as much because your playing less minutes. How valuable is consistency and efficiency on the court this season?
I’m still trying to figure that out myself. It’s all new territory for me. It’s valuable to me every season but definitely very valuable this season for sure.
Has the less minutes motivated you to do extra work out and shooting shifts each day or do you rest more and pick your spots when to put in the extra work in accordance to how your body is acting?
I definitely listen to my body, but I naturally love to workout so whenever I feel like doing anything extra I just go ahead and do it.
You recently lost to German team medi Bayreuth on the road. You won a narrow 70-67 game at home. You have seen many German teams over the years. What impressed you about this club?
There wasn’t anything extra special to me about their team. They just play well together and are very well coached.
You lost a tough 89-81 Basketball Champions League game to medi Bayreuth. What was key to not going home with the win?
We needed to limit Gabe York and Nate Linhart but they played very well and also the starting PG did as well. They found a rhythm at home and we weren’t tough enough defensively or made enough offensive plays to leave with the win. It was a great atmosphere provided by their fans as well.
You have been blessed with having played in many beautiful places in your career and this season you can boast saying I live in Venice. What has been your favorite part of being able to walk the streets in your spare time?
I actually haven’t been to walk around Venice much. Waiting for it to be warm
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
No it’s not a fair assessment. Russ plays his heart out every night. Can’t ask for much more than that. It’s easy to nitpick but no one else consistently plays with his type of intensity.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I don’t really have an answer for this one.
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
They definitely have enough but I still think the Warriors are the best team.
How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?
The Celtics definitely won that trade.
Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?
I’m not sure. They are an interesting team. I feel it will be hard for anyone to be the Warriors in a 7 game series.
Who will win the Super Bowl? The New England Patriots or Philadelphia Eagles?
The Patriots. My cousin plays for them so I’m rooting for my family.
If Tom Brady wins a 6th Super Bowl, where in your opinion will that put him with the all-time greats in sports?
He’s already one of the all-time greats. He will def the GOAT of football and the QB position, but all of sports I don’t know about that.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I haven’t watched a movie in a while. I watch more of YouTube than anything else.
Thanks Mike for the chat.