Thursday, May 9, 2019 | 2 a.m.
UNLV is gearing up for the most important recruiting battle of T.J. Otzelberger’s tenure so far, as South Dakota State transfer David Jenkins will be in town for an official visit this weekend, according to a source.
Playing in Otzelberger’s perimeter-oriented system, Jenkins scored 17.8 points per game while making 42.0 percent of his 3-point attempts during his two years at South Dakota State. As a sophomore in 2018-19, the 6-foot-2 guard upped his scoring to 19.7 points and hit on 45.3 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Jenkins has already taken visits to Oregon and Gonzaga, and he is also considering UCLA, Washington State, Memphis and South Dakota State.
This is shaping up to be the most important development of Otzelberger’s first offseason at UNLV. He has already inked two recruits, but Jenkins is a cut above due to his star potential. Otzelberger’s existing relationship with Jenkins also puts more pressure on the coach to seal the deal, especially after former South Dakota State recruit Caleb Grill spurned UNLV and committed to Iowa State on Tuesday.
Otzelberger originally recruited Jenkins to South Dakota State as an unranked prospect out of Spokane, Wash., in the Class of 2017. After his two superlative seasons at SDSU, Jenkins announced his intention to test the transfer market shortly after Otzelberger accepted the UNLV job.
UNLV currently has three open scholarship spots while Otzelberger awaits decisions from the four Rebels still in the transfer portal (Joel Ntambwe, Shakur Juiston, Mbacke Diong, Tervell Beck).
Otzelberger has clearly made outside shooting a priority as he continues to recruit his first incoming class at UNLV. His first signee, juco guard Jonah Antonio, made 40.9 percent of his 3-point attempts last year; the second signee, Tulane transfer Moses Wood, connected on 37.3 percent of his long-distance shots last season.
If he were to commit to UNLV, Jenkins would not be eligible to play until 2020-21. Due to transfer rules, he would have to sit out the upcoming 2019-20 campaign as a redshirt.
Texas transfer also visiting UNLV
Jenkins isn't the only recruit visiting UNLV this weekend, as Texas grad transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long will also make his way to Las Vegas to survey the lay of the land.
Mitrou-Long began his college career at Mount St. Mary's and posted 15.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a sophomore in 2016-17 before transferring to Texas. His one year with the Longhorns saw a significant dip in production, as he played just 17.9 minutes per game and scored 5.6 points.
Mitrou-Long shot 32.0 percent from 3-point range at Texas last year, but as a sophomore at Mount St. Mary's he drilled 38.2 percent from deep.
As a grad transfer, Mitrou-Long would be eligible to play immediately in 2019-20.