Jennings Recruitment Heating Up
Jennings has been hearing from a few new schools, including Memphis, which seems to be quite interested in the explosive shot-blocker and dunker. Arizona, meantime, has been showing more attention than ever. So are the Terps still his favorite?
"They're up there, but I like Arizona and Memphis a lot too," Jennings said.
Though not a polished low-post scorer, Jennings brings a rare dimension in that he has great quickness and agility for his size, as we reported and chronicled with video highlights when he blocked 12 shots in a loss against National Christian Academy (Md.), one of the Washington area's best and most athletic teams.
A native of Sacramento, Calif., Jennings transferred to Mt. Zion around mid-season from Charis Prep (N.C). It took a while for he and his teammates to accustom themselves to each other, which was apparent when he received very few touches and the players hardly spoke to one another during the NCA tournament. He told us afterwards that help would be arriving soon in the form of point guard Jamelle Barrett, a former teammate of his in California.
Barrett arrived at Mt. Zion a few weeks ago, the players began to get along, and all is well, Jennings said.
"People just kind of wanted to get their touches, but [now] everyone's getting the ball and everything's fine … We're all jelling right now," said Jennings, who is averaging 12 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks while playing alongside top-50 senior Tracy Smith (N.C. State) and top-10 sophomore Karron Johnson.
Mt. Zion also has added a few more talented post players, and with the graduation of Smith, Jennings will be a feature attraction next year. His move to Mt. Zion has already garnered him far more recruiting attention than he'd expected.
"I think he thought it was just going to be Maryland," said Mt. Zion coach Antonio Fozard.
Right now, his game is mostly limited to within a few feet of the hoop. His playing style and physical appearance have earned him comparisons to NBA star Amare Stoudemire, who is a Mt. Zion alum.
"Next year he'll have more opportunities to expand his game," said Fozard, who has been receiving visits and hearing inquiries about Jennings from coaches from Maryland, Oklahoma Sate, Southern Cal, Louisville, Memphis, Arizona.
"I think all the coaches are saying the same thing right now. Everyone is interested in a quality big man that can come in and play," Fozard said.
Both coach and player said that Jennings is taking his schoolwork more seriously than before; he previously re-classified to '08 in order to shore his academics and refine his game.
"I think the most important thing is he's focusing on now instead of worrying about the future. Because, I told him, if he doesn't take care of now, there will be no future," Fozard said.
"It shouldn't be [a problem] at all," Jennings said.
Jennings took an unofficial visit to Maryland earlier this season, but it was a brief one.
"I saw the gym and the food court, and that was about it," he said. "They're definitely one of my visits [this summer or fall]."
Jennings, whose season will end this week, will split time on the AAU circuit this summer between his old team – Play Hard, Play Smart (Ca.) – and the Richmond Squires (Va.), with whom he'll play a bit because of his friendship with Mt. Zion teammate Johnson.
With Jennings completely wide open in terms of his recruitment, it could very well come down to which school decides to make him a top priority. He's one of several junior big men the Terps have targeted, and only time will tell how his recruitment will unfold.
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