Q: How is Eric Paschall looking for this upcoming season?
Kris Jenkins: Eric is great. He is looking great. He is going to be a great piece to our team this year. We are excited to have him.
Q: How has Omari Spellman taken the news and how has the team responded?
Kris Jenkins: Omari handled the news of his ineligibility great and he has responded like a man. He is doing what he can. He is going to use this year to improve and get better and we as a team are disappointed in the outcome of it but we understand it. We don’t agree with it but we understand it. We support Omari and we are going to be there for him in every way we can.
VUSports: I asked Josh Hart about when you were Seniors in the DC Metro area and you edged him out for Player of the Year … he thinks maybe he will get one up on you this year - do you have your eye on maybe one upping him again?
Kris Jenkins: [laughing] I haven’t even thought about that. I am happy for Josh and all the success that he has had here in college and all the success that he will continue to have. If he gets player of the year, I am always supportive of him - always. But everyone wants to compete so we are going to make it real competitive.
VUSports: Does part of you wonder “how do I even top what happened last year”? What gets you motivated for that next shot, that next practice, that next game when you just did something that is going to be remembered for many years to come?
Kris Jenkins: My teammates and my coaches and my family - they do a great job of keeping me focused and realizing that I have bigger dreams and goals for my life than just making a shot in a National Championship game. It was a big shot but that is not what I want to be the highlight of my life I want to continue to do bigger and better things as my basketball career goes on so the motivation factor comes from within. I want to be great. I want to continue to strive to be the best player and person that I can be.
VUSports: What part of your game have you worked on the most this summer?
Kris Jenkins: Besides my body and defense, just becoming a better leader for our team. Trying to help our team in whatever way that I can.
VUSports: Do you feel that you are in better shape now than you were at the end of the season?
Kris Jenkins: I feel like my shape and my conditioning is much better right now and it will get better as we get closer to the season and it will get better during the season as well. It is something that we, as a team - the entire coaching staff and our strength coach, all have sat down and talked about and that we have put in motion since the season ended and we are going to continue to do that throughout the entire year and even when the year ends.
VUSports: Does it bother you or motivate you when Bill Raftery or some other announcer calls you chubby or the big kid?
Kris Jenkins: It has no affect on me at all. I have been bigger and heavier than this. I am losing weight and I am continuing to improve my body so it doesn’t matter.
VUSports: There are many varieties of Villanova championship shirts and items for sale that have your likeness, your silhouette, your jersey number or your name on them … does it bother you at some level that these people profit off that but the way the NCAA runs things that you have no ability to share in that?
Kris Jenkins: I can only control what I can control and that is something that is out of my hands. The NCAA has rules that we all have to follow. I respect them and that is that.
VUSports: With Arcidiacono gone, do you see a change in the way Jalen Brunson is approaching things or trying to take on more of a leadership role?
Kris Jenkins: J.B. is great. He is becoming a great leader for us. Everyone is stepping up - Phil Booth is stepping up - Mikal Bridges - even Eric Paschall and Donte Divincenzo, the two guys who sat out last year, they are stepping up and being more vocal. That is what we want and that is what we need for our team to be successful this upcoming year.
VUSports: What do you see from Eric Paschall - what skills does he bring?
Kris Jenkins: He is great. He is a big body, very athletic, he plays hard, rebounds, plays defense. Eric is one of the more versatile players on our team. He is going to add a big piece to our upcoming year.
VUSports: Who gets responsibility for giving Omari Spellman the nickname “O Boogie”?
Kris Jenkins: [laughs] I want to say that came from Dylan Painter. I want to say that Dylan made that up.
VUSports: Speaking of Dylan, what has impressed you about his game?
Kris Jenkins: He plays hard. He focuses on defense and rebounding and more importantly has an open mind to get better - which is great for any freshman coming in.
VUSports: Tim Delaney is a bit of a forgotten man because of his injuries last season - what has he shown you since returning to action this summer?
Kris Jenkins: Tim is versatile too. He can stretch the floor. He plays extremely hard. He is going to be an important piece to our team too.