Despite the fact Kris Jenkins' first NBA predraft workout happened to come with his hometown team, the Washington Wizards, Jenkins decided to stay in a hotel room and not with his parents, who live in nearby Prince George's County where he grew up. They stopped by to visit him and his uncle, who is a huge Wizards fan, has let his excitment be known. But otherwise, this was a business trip. Jenkins wanted all of his focus to be on realizing his dream of playing at the highest level.
"It's a blessing," he said on Tuesday at the Verizon Center. "You always root for the hometown teams and want them to do well. Honestly, it's humbling to be in this position. To grow up in this area and have some games here and play college ball here, then to come back and work out for the Wizards."
Jenkins, who starred at Gonzaga High School in D.C. before going to Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pa., is currently projected by most mock drafts to not be selected. He could be fighting for a summer league spot, a training camp invite or a contract as an undrafted free agent. That reality is not lost on the 23-year-old forward.
"Nobody has me getting drafted right now, but I want to change that," Jenkins said. "I look at everything. I watch everything. Any athlete that tells you that they don't, they lying just a little bit. But yeah, I watch all that stuff. I hear everything they've got to say."
Jenkins played with current Wizards big man Daniel Ochefu, whom Jenkins calls 'Big Chef,' at Villanova. Ochefu himself was not drafted but did earn a contract with the Wizards out of training camp. He then spent the entire 2016-17 season with Washington, earning limited minutes behind a deep crop of big men including Marcin Gortat, Jason Smith and Ian Mahinmi when he was healthy.
Ochefu got a job because of his size at 6-foot-11 and defense. For Jenkins, his selling point is an all-around game. He did a little bit of everything for the Wildcats, with averages of 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals as a senior.
Jenkins also thinks his shot could be an asset. He shot just 38.4 percent as a senior, but the year before knocked down 45.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three. He's also very good from the free throw line (83.6% in his career) and has one of the most famous shots in NCAA history to his name, a buzzer-beater to beat UNC in the 2016 final game.
"Everybody needs a shooter, so hopefully somebody will give me a look," he said.
If Jenkins were to catch on with the Wizards in any fashion, it would be a great story and one Jenkins wouldn't mind seeing through.
"I'm just thankful for the opportunity to start off right in my hometown," he said. "A lot of great players come out of here. It forces you to work had at an early age. This is the best basketball area in the country."
The Wizards were Jenkins' first workout, but he does have another one scheduled with the Dallas Mavericks.