PHOTO: John Jenkins #64 of the Portland Trail Blazers goes to the basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League on July 17, 2018. // Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE, courtesy of the Portland Trail Blazers.
By RUSSELL VANNOZZI
Former Station Camp High School star John Jenkins is doing everything he can to get back on an NBA roster.
This summer, that meant participating in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League, typically filled with rookies and other developing players. Jenkins, 27, was the second-oldest member of the Portland Trail Blazers’ summer roster.
“At first, I was questioning it, but I knew I needed to do something out of the ordinary,” he said.
The plan worked out well for Jenkins, as the Trail Blazers went 7-0 and captured the 2018 NBA Summer League title with a 93-71 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on July 17. The Vanderbilt alum started each contest and averaged 12 points per game while shooting 70 percent from the field.
“It was perfect,” Jenkins said of his experience in Las Vegas. “Being able to showcase myself in front of all 32 teams this summer was great.”
Jenkins has five seasons of NBA service after spending time with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. However, he was released by the Hawks last October and was forced to take his talents overseas for the 2017-18 season.
The 6-foot-4 guard signed with San Pablo Burgos of the Spanish Liga ACB, generally considered the second-best league behind the NBA. The veteran took the experience in stride and used the opportunity to improve his defense, leadership and off-the-ball movement.
“It’s about growing up, looking yourself in the mirror and asking, ‘what can I do to get better?’” Jenkins said. “My game really had to (evolve). If it didn’t, I wouldn’t have had a chance to get back in the (NBA).”
Jenkins is set to host his sixth annual basketball camp at Station Camp Middle School next week. The camp will be held July 24-26 and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day. Registration is open to children ages 6-17 and costs $70 per camper, or $100 for families of two.
“I look forward to it every summer – it’s like the best thing I do,” Jenkins said. “I went to school with a lot of the kids’ parents or I know their families. The camp keeps getting bigger every year.”
Fittingly, the camp will be focused on Jenkins’ specialty: shooting.
“Of course, my camp has to be about shooting,” he said. “We like to implement some life skills…it’s a lot of fundamental stuff. The biggest thing (for the kids) is just playing and having fun.”
Jenkins currently remains an NBA free agent. While his summer league showing turned some heads, he must now play the waiting game.
“I have to be patient, that’s the way free agency works,” Jenkins said. “I’m just seeing where all the other shooting guards go in front of me in the pecking order. I’m waiting my turn, and I think that should be coming up pretty soon, I hope.”
Signups for the 6th Annual John Jenkins Basketball Camp can be found at www.teamjenkinscamps.com.