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August 27, 2012
Villanova picked up the first member of its 2013 recruiting class on Sunday when Kris Jenkins of Gonzaga (DC) decided to make the call for the Wildcats.
A 6-foot-6, 250-pound combo forward who boosted his stock during the winter with a strong junior season, Jenkins selected Villanova over Clemson, Miami, Rutgers, and Xavier.
"I decided on Villanova because when I went on my unofficial visits there that's just where I got my gut feeling, it just felt like home," Jenkins told VUSports.com. "It felt like this is where I'm supposed to be and I talked to my family about it and they said, 'We think this a great fit for you.' And after that it was a no-brainer that that's where I wanted to go."
Jenkins said that there was no school that finished in second place, but rather that it was Villanova that quite simply stood out over the rest.
"For the most part it was really just Nova," Jenkins said, going on to add, "I just felt most comfortable, just most at home, and the plan and the opportunities that the coaching staff will give me was just something that I couldn't turn down."
Jenkins made his commitment prior to taking any official visits, but he has been on unofficial trips to Villanova, Rutgers and Xavier. Jenkins added that he has been to VU "two or three times" with the most recent one being two weekends ago.
"I just went around campus, talked with the coaching staff," Jenkins said of his recent visit to the Main Line. "That was just pretty much it."
The rising senior, who does plan to take an official to Villanova, talked about whether there was something in particular from his visit that made him know that he wanted to be a Wildcat.
"No, not really," Jenkins began. "It was just when I took that visit it was just to make sure that [going to Villanova] was exactly what I wanted to do, [so I would know], 'Hey this is where I want to go.' So that's what it did for me."
Jenkins confirmed that he did enter that trip leaning towards Villanova, adding that it was "about a week and a half [or] two weeks ago maybe" when he started to feel that way.
Asked what made him start to feel that VU was the place for him, he responded, "That was just [from] thinking about it and then talking with my family and the Britt family, but mainly just how I felt about it."
There have been a couple of coaches from the Villanova staff that Jenkins has had the most contact with, but it has not been limited to just them.
"It was coach Wright and coach Billy Lange," Jenkins said, "but I pretty much talk to all of them."
Jenkins went on to talk a bit more in-depth about his relationship with Villanova head coach Jay Wright.
"My relationship with coach Wright is great," Jenkins said. "First of all, he's a great person. Outside of basketball he's just a great person and he wants to see anyone do well, and in basketball he's a proven coach. He takes care of guys after their Villanova career is over, which is real important to me."
The DC Assault standout talked about whether the coaching staff has discussed with him what his role on the team will be.
"They didn't really say what my role was going to be," Jenkins said. "They just said that they were going to give me an opportunity to come in, get a great education, become a great person and a great student, as well as become a better player. [Also that] they were going to me to try to reach my goal to win a national championship and help me to hopefully reach my goal of become an NBA player."
A versatile player who can fit at multiple spots on the court, Jenkins said he has not been labeled as a certain position by the Villanova coaches.
"I don't think they told me a set position," Jenkins said. "They told me just what I always pretty much believe myself [to be, which is that] they were just going play me as a basketball player. That's what I see myself as, a basketball player. I'm trying to bring back the role of BPs, people who are just basketball players."
Jenkins' weight has fluctuated a bit in the past, and he said he is currently 250 lbs. He shared what he and the VU staff feel his ideal playing weight will be at the next level.
"We're just going to try my best to get me down as low as possible and however low that is," Jenkins said, "whether that's 230 [or] whether that's 225, we're just going to try to go as low as we can."
There are a couple players on the current Villanova roster who Jenkins has known for a while, but he said that he really has a relationship with the majority of the squad.
"Well I knew James Bell way from something called NCAA First Team, which is now iHoops. I know him way back," Jenkins said. "I know Mo Sutton because he's from the DMV area, and pretty much [I know] all those guys. All those guys are cool. When I go up there we hit it off real well. I'm real cool with everybody."
Jenkins has his sights set on adding another player in particular to the future Villanova team.
"Yes, after I committed now my main focus is to try to get the kid Josh Hart to commit," Jenkins said. "That's the number one priority for me right now."
Both Jenkins and Hart go to high school in Washington, D.C. and Jenkins said that he has spoken with the 6-foot-5 small forward since making his commitment.
"I have . . . I was just letting him know that we need to make this move to Villanova together as DMV thing," Jenkins said. "Both of us, I feel that we can help the program out a lot."
Jenkins said that he is "real cool" with Hart and that the two "talk consistently." He discussed what he heard from Hart in response to getting in his ear about joining him on the Main Line.
"He was just like, he was happy for me," Jenkins said. "He congratulated me and then he was just like, 'I'm going to take my visit there and see what they have to say.'"
At this point Jenkins does not have many goals for his college career as he is more focused on the present.
"No, not yet," Jenkins said. "I'm just focused on getting ready for this Gonzaga season."
The future Villanova Wildcat wrapped up the interview by sharing what he is hoping to accomplish during his final season of high school ball.
"Just to become a better leader," Jenkins said. "Become a better leader and just give our team the best chance to succeed and win a WCAC championship and a city title."