Q&A: Charles Jenkins

High-scoring guard could add to Hofstra history

On June 23, guard Charles Jenkins could join Speedy Claxton and Rich Laurel as the third Hofstra University player to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

Jenkins, 6-3, 215, averaged 22.6 points on .517 shooting as a senior in 2010-11, and his 2,513 career points were second only to Hall of Fame center David Robinson in Colonial Athletic Association history.

Jenkins worked out for the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center earlier this month. Afterward, he took a few minutes to talk to

Q: What do you know about the Nuggets and the city of Denver?
A: The first thing anyone told me about the city of Denver is the air, and to be aware of it. This is my first time out here and it’s a great experience. I like the city; it’s very similar to where I live. Something that I’ve never seen before is the train (light rail), and how it runs right down the middle of the street. There’s a lot of things about (Denver) that I really like, it’s nice.

Q: Talk a little bit more about the altitude. There’s always debate about it. Does it affect you? Does it not affect you? Did you feel it during your workout?
A: Most definitely I did feel it, but not as much as I thought. I did a great job of getting in shape so I wouldn’t be affected by it as much. This is the kind of air where if you are in any kind of bad shape you’re definitely in trouble from the very beginning. It was definitely something I felt.

Q: What do you think your strengths as a player are? Will they translate to the NBA?
A: My size, my strength, and my speed. You’re not usually going to see a guard my size be able to attack the basket and, not only be able to finish with the contact from my body, but also make passes and get a lot of my teammates open. I think that’s a big advantage for me.

Q: In any conversations with scouts, coaches, or executives, what aspects of your game do they say you need to improve to play in the NBA?
A: I need to be a better defender. I think offensively I’ve proved at every level that I can score with the best of them. I think that one of the things that will keep me here (in the NBA) is being a lockdown defender and being able to compete with the more athletic guards.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about why you chose to stay at Springfield Gardens High School in Queens, N.Y., a public high school, instead of attending a private school or playing on a club team like many players of your caliber?
A: It’s more about opportunity. A lot of the public schools in New York they kind of mold their players from when they were younger. They grow up around the school, they go to their camps when they were younger, and they just kind of get in to the school. But for me, Springfield Gardens was right near my house, I was very comfortable with the staff and a lot of my friends went there. It was all about me being comfortable. Coming out of junior high school I skipped a grade. I was younger and I wanted to be around guys I was comfortable with, so that’s a big part of the reason I went there.

Q: Sometimes guys coming to the NBA get a bad rap for playing four years in college. Would you say it was beneficial for you?
A: It was definitely beneficial for me just because I took advantage of the opportunity. A lot of my family members didn’t go to college. So for me, more than basketball, graduating was the most important thing. I think it definitely helped me mature. I went through a lot more things as far as the coaching change and learning new plays and all of the types of things that happen in the NBA. You get new guys or new coaches all the time. So staying in college for all five years (redshirt freshman year) was very beneficial for me.

Q: What types of other things are you doing to get ready for the NBA draft?
A: I’m just working. I’m trying to continue to get better at every aspect of my game. I’ve been working out with Kemba Walker trying to get used to staying in front of quick guards and things like that. Every opportunity to get in the gym I have, I’m trying to take advantage of that. If my legs are sore, I’m coming in and shooting free throws. If I lift and my arms are a little tight, I’m coming in and shooting jumpers. I’m just doing the things to try and get better and get ready for this NBA Draft.