John Jenkins is one of the top shooters in the 2012 NBA rookie class. After helping to lead Vanderbilt to an SEC title game upset over then ranked No. 1 Kentucky, Vanderbilt went on to lose 60-57 to Wisconsin in the secound round of the NCAA Tournament. But that wasn’t the end of a basketball journey for many of Vanderbilt’s players, including Festus Ezeli and Jeffery Taylor, the 30th and 31st picks in the 2012 NBA Draft, respectively. We had the chance to catch up with the 23rd pick, John Jenkins, at the NBA Rookie photo shoot to talk about his college basketball career and his lofty goals to become one of the greatest shooters ever.
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Dime: How happy are you that you landed up in Atlanta?
John Jenkins: I’m very excited. It’s very refreshing for me to be close to home, it’s a good team for me to be on, a lot of guys to learn from. I’m very excited.
Dime: We have to know the truth: how tough was Harvard in the first round of the NCAA Tournament?
JJ: They were tough, man. They play that Princeton offense – I think it was the Princeton offense. They were doing it and there was a lot of moving. We’re not used to all that. We’re not used to all that, moving around and off the ball screens as much as they were. It was a tough game for us.
Dime: How much contact have you had with Atlanta coaches and players?
JJ: I haven’t talked to too many of the players. I’m going to California tomorrow (8/22) with Kyle Korver to work out. And then tomorrow (8/22) I might be out there a little while. The players are really good, teaching me a lot when I talk to them. The coaches, they’re also very helpful too. I’m enjoying it all.
Dime: Everyone knows that you have one of the best jump shots of any rookie. What other parts of your game are you working on?
JJ: I’m working on my ballhandling, my defense. I think those two things will take me a long way.
Dime: What kind of role do you foresee yourself playing next year with the Hawks?
JJ: Scorer. I’m gonna score and that’s what I want to do. And be a reliable defender also.
Dime: What’s on the pregame iPod?
JJ: It’s either Rick Ross, Drake, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Wale, all those guys.
Dime: How was it last year at Vandy, knowing all you guys were looking towards the next level but still wanting to win in that final season?
JJ: Aw man, we’re all like brothers. Literally. Close as almost any team out there. We didn’t get to finish where we wanted to, but that’s just a part of the game. We had a lot of fun, got us an SEC Championship and we’re excited about that.
Dime: What’s going to be your first NBA purchase, if you haven’t made it already?
JJ: I got a Range Rover. But with my first check I’m gonna buy my mom a car, that’s probably about it. I’m a very cheap person. For me to get a Range Rover was saying a lot for me, I won’t spend too much on anything.
Dime: Who are you most excited to play against in the NBA? Is there a sort of shock factor now that you’ve realized your dreams and will actually play against your childhood heroes in the NBA?
JJ: I’m not really shocked at all to be playing against all those guys. I feel very blessed to be a part of the situation that I’m in. Of course you got all those guys, Kobe, LeBron, D-Wade, Carmelo, all those guys, KD, I look forward to playing against them a lot.
Dime: When you look back on your career in 20 years, what do you want people to be saying about you?
JJ: He gave it all he got, every night out. Greatest shooter, up there with Ray Allen. That’s my goal, up there with Ray Allen and other great shooters in the League.
What do you think?
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