VCU-HOFSTRA LIVE BLOG
This, as they say, is the “meat” of the schedule. VCU, riding a seven-game winning streak hosts Hofstra tonight in an unlikely battle for first place in The Association.
Flying Dutchmen Pride are led by Charles Jenkins, reigning CAA Player of the Year and 24-point-per-game scorer. Jenkins was great last season, but he’s even better this year, if that’s possible. If you want proof, perhaps the nine NBA scouts who have requested credentials for tonight will convince you.
“He’s terrific,” says VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart. “I coached in the ACC as an assistant coach, I coached in the SEC as an assistant coach. He’s every bit as good as any of the guards I coached against in those leagues.”
There’s not much Jenkins doesn’t do well. He can shoot (his .557 shooting percentage, including .449 from 3-point range, is ridiculous for a guard), he can put it on the floor, he can get to the line he handles contact well and he can dish (5.0 apg). So it begs the question, how do you stop the guy nobody can stop?
“You’re not going to shut him down. That’s the first thing,” Smart says. “If you feel like you’re going to go into the game and hold him to single digits, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. You have to contain a great player and you have to do it with five guys on the floor. Not just the guy that’s matched up with him at the current time.”
The Rams will almost certainly deploy senior Ed Nixon on Jenkins, but Smart will also likely use freshman Rob Brandenberg and sophomore Darius Theus against the nation’s third-leading scorer. Brandenberg, who has emerged as a solid on-ball defender for the Rams this season, is looking forward to the challenge.
“The thing with me is I just want to make everything tough,” Brandenberg said. “You want to take away the shot first and foremost, because he can shoot, and then after that I just want to make sure I play his drive. Hopefully I can slow him down. My teammates are going to help if he drives. Helpside’s going to be there, but the main thing is just to make everything tough for him. Make him shoot over high hands or over our bigs.”
Jenkins scored 23 against the Rams the last time these two teams met on Jan. 12, 2010 in Hempstead, N.Y., an 81-68 VCU victory. Despite those 23 points, Jenkins was just 7-of-18 from the field and committed seven turnovers.