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Coveted transfer David Jenkins commits to UNLV basketball

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Steve Marcus

T.J. Otzelberger, UNLV’s new men’s basketball head coach pumps his fist during a news conference at the Thomas & Mack Center Thursday, March 28, 2019.

New UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger has hit his first home run on the recruiting trail, as star transfer David Jenkins committed to the Rebels on Saturday.

The 6-foot-2 shooting guard made the announcement via his Twitter page. After taking an official visit to UNLV last weekend he chose the Rebels over his other finalists, Gonzaga and Oregon.

Jenkins played under Otzelberger for two years at South Dakota State and put up big numbers: 17.8 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting (42.0 percent from 3-point range). As a sophomore in 2018-19, he scored 19.7 points and nailed a ridiculous 45.3 percent of his 3’s.

With his ability to shoot from long distance and score efficiently, Jenkins should jump-start UNLV’s offense when he becomes eligible in 2020-21. As a transfer, he will have to sit out the upcoming 2019-20 campaign but will have two seasons of eligibility remaining after that.

Jenkins is the fifth player to join the Rebels this offseason, joining guards Jonah Antonio and Elijah Mitrou-Long and forwards Moses Wood and Vitaliy Shibel. But while the previous four recruits are upside plays, Jenkins is in a different category as a proven performer in Otzelberger's system.

At South Dakota State last season, Jenkins scored 20-plus points in 12 games and went for 30-plus on four occasions. He had 10 games with at least five made 3-pointers, including one game in which he went 10-of-15 from long range. For the season, Jenkins hit 112 3-pointers; UNLV’s leader, the since-graduated Noah Robotham, made 59 on the year.

Jenkins has a strong case for being the best shooter in the country. Among the 276 Division-I players who attempted at least 200 jump shots last year, Jenkins ranked first in the nation by making 47.7 percent. He ranked third in efficiency, averaging 1.298 points per possession on those plays according to Synergy Sports data.

A native of Washington, Jenkins played his prep ball in Wichita and credits Otzelberger for being the only college coach to recruit him consistently at the time. Now, after two productive years together at South Dakota State, that bond has paid off in a big way for UNLV.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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