Kris Jenkins (left) hit the shot that won Villanova the 2016 NCAA championship. He is out of professional basketball now, but back at the Final Four with the Wildcats. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
Kris Jenkins is back in the Final Four with Villanova, but out of professional basketball.
The former Wildcats star, who made a buzzer-beater to win the NCAA Tournament championship two years ago, has been running scout team with Villanova this week in San Antonio and preparing to work as a television analyst for TBS.
Villanova faces Kansas on Saturday night for a spot in Monday’s championship game. Loyola-Chicago and Michigan play in the first game of the semifinal doublheader at the Alamodome.
Jenkins made the winning jumper to beat North Carolina in the 2016 tournament championship, but his basketball career has been on a downward trend ever since. He went undrafted by the NBA, and signed with the Washington Wizards but didn’t last long.
He did a short stint in the NBA’s developmental G-League but was released in December. Most recently he was playing with the Yakima SunKings of the North American Basketball League, but earlier this week he was suspended indefinitely by the team. Jenkins talked earlier this week as if his relationship with that team was done.
He said he planned to work out with Villanova this summer, and that broadcasting could be in his future.
“I’ve always wanted to commentate. I love sports. Not just basketball. I love football. I love baseball. I just love competition. Anything dealing with talking about competition, I’m all for. But that’s after my playing career. Absolutely the NBA is the goal, and it will be reached,” Jenkins said, sitting in an empty locker in Villanova’s locker room after practice earlier this week.
On the TBS broadcast of the Final Four on Saturday, Jenkins will join a panel that includes three other former NCAA champions: former Duke star Christian Laettner, former Tennessee All-American Candace Parker and former Kansas star and current Wake Forest coach Danny Manning.
Jenkins said the offer to join the broadcast came to him unexpectedly through his agent.
“I was all for it, especially since my guys was here. Of course, I wouldn’t have turned this down for anything,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins, who has always been comfortable in front of a camera and speaking with the media, said he has not had much opportunity to work on broadcasting.
“I’m going to challenge myself. I’m going to see how much of a natural I am. I’m going to freestyle it. I’m going to freestyle it. I’m going to say pray before we go on air and then I’m going to freestyle it,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said his only instruction was to “be yourself.” And that means he won’t be hiding his support for Villanova.