Jenkins sees similarities to Final Four team

After a tough start this season, Louisville guard Brandon Jenkins sees some positive signs from his team. The Cardinals, one of the nation's hottest teams, have won five straight and are rapidly ascending in the polls. More importantly, Jenkins, a member of U of L's 2004-05 Final Four squad, sees similarities to that team.

After a tough start this season, Louisville guard Brandon Jenkins sees some positive signs from his team. The Cardinals, one of the nation's hottest teams, have won five straight and are rapidly ascending in the polls. More importantly, Jenkins, a member of U of L's 2004-05 Final Four squad, sees similarities to that team.

"The Final Four team – we were passing the ball just like we're doing right now," said the 6-3, 185 pound senior. "T-Will and (Edgar) Sosa are looking for us and making good decisions and we're just playing team basketball and getting after it on defense. And that's what the Final Four did."

Jenkins played a key role off the bench during Louisville's Final Four run two years ago and it was his last second blocked shot that helped propel the Cardinals past West Virginia in the regional final. It was a career defining play for the Detroit native.

"I don't think we go to the Final Four without B.J's block," Rick Pitino said.

Though Jenkins is often reminded of the play, he'd rather focus on the present and making another tournament run next month.

"Some of the trainers and (other) people remind me that if it wasn't for me we wouldn't have gone to the Final Four," Jenkins said. "But that was two years ago and this is a different year for us. So I try not to think about that. But that was definitely the most unbelievable thing in my career. Just going to the Final Four and experiencing that is probably my best memory here."

Jenkins senior year has been a struggle. He broke his leg August 18 during a pickup game. That injury forced Jenkins to the sideline for nearly three months and he's only recently returned to 100 percent.

Jenkins, who averaged 11.2 points as a junior, has seen his scoring average plunge this season. And while he's averaging just 5.2 points this season, he's started to pick up the offensive slack recently, scoring 19 points in Louisville's past two games and averaging about 8 points during the Cardinals five game winning streak.


Jenkins hope the season ends
better than it started.

"Brandon has come back from a major injury and he's just now coming into his own," Pitino said. "This was the toughest year for him overcoming the injury and seeing his skills erode somewhat and not having the athleticism he's already had. Now he's got it back and the past month has been very positive for him. He's hoping to finish strong."

While Jenkins admits overcoming his injury has been tough, he said he's tried to provide leadership to a young team even though he hasn't been able to produce offensively as he did last season.

"It was tough getting hurt my senior year, but we're on a roll right now," Jenkins said. "I got over it and we're winning and that's all that matters. I've just tried to help the freshmen out and do what seniors do and tried to lead.

"When I wasn't shooting that well I was kind of down, but I wasn't going to show that. I was always going to stay positive. I just tried to stay positive and play hard."

With tournament play approaching, Jenkins said he won't be satisfied unless his team makes a strong showing in the Big East and NCAA tournaments.

"We just want to play in the tournament," he said. "We don't want to be satisfied with a good Big East season. We want to keep it rolling."

A solid student, Jenkins currently takes 19 credit hours and is slated to graduate on time. Though his numbers have been down this season, Jenkins hopes he'll have a chance to play professionally next season.

"I just want to see where basketball takes me," Jenkins said. "Hopefully I can play after college."

"If we continue winning, BJ will get the looks that he needs – whether it's Europe or wherever," Pitino said.


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