By the end of this weekend, Arkansas’ basketball team could add another player to its roster for the 2015-2016 season.
Naples, Fla., First Baptist Academy small forward Lorenzo Jenkins (6-7, 215), who graduated in June, will begin an official visit to Arkansas on Friday to check out head coach Mike Anderson’s program.
Jenkins originally reclassified to 2016 with the intent of going to a prep school for a year to elevate his level of offers, but a strong summer AAU campaign for Team Speights has given him some new opportunities.
Arkansas, Texas A&M, Fresno State, San Diego and Richmond and others started showing interest in July with several other schools hoping they could land him in 2016.
“I have a really good relationship with the Arkansas coaches and have talked to them about every day since they offered me over a week ago,” Jenkins said. “They have talked to me about how they would use me and how I would have a great opportunity to come in and play and make an impact this season.
“It just seems like a great fit and opportunity for me and if everything is like I think it is going to be then I plan to commit and be part of the program next season.”
Jenkins, who goes by the nickname Doobie, averaged 14.3 points and 6.6 rebounds last season being named his district’s player of the year and an all-state performer.
“I went ahead and reclassified to 2016 because that allowed me to go ahead and play AAU basketball this spring and summer in front of college coaches and see if I could get noticed,” Jenkins said. “It looks like that is going to turn out to be a very good decision for me.”
Arkansas currently has nine players in its roster pending resolution of a legal issue regarding three players that are currently suspended.
Jenkins would fill a role that is currently wide open due to Michael Qualls’ decision to leave for the NBA Draft and the recent suspensions.
“I got a chance to see Michael Qualls play several games last season and really liked his game,” Jenkins said. “I feel like I can come in and do some of the things that he did because Coach Anderson let me know there is not really a forward like me on the team right now.”
“I feel like I am a very good shooter, can handle the ball pretty well and love to play defense,” Jenkins said. “The big thing is just love to win and try to do anything I can to help my team do that.”
If Arkansas lands Jenkins, he will join Columbia, Mo., Hickman guard Jimmy Whitt (6-4, 170), former Pulask Academy star Dusty Hannahs (6-4, 210), and Kennesaw State transfer center Willy Kouassi (6-10, 233) as new players on the 2015-2016 roster.
Jenkins is coming to Arkansas with the thought it will be his new home.
“I just really see this being a blessing and things working out for me,” Jenkins said. “If I like it, I will commit before I leave.”