Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Charles Jenkins‘ 11-year-old niece texted him recently asking for money, which he gladly gave her.
Kareem Albritton, Jenkins’ older brother and the father of Kemoni Albritton, was shot and killed in Brooklyn in 2001. Ever since, Jenkins’ has helped raise the girl.
He knows that if he makes the NBA she won’t have to worry about money for food anytime soon.
“Every time I step on the floor I always have a bad thought in my head of her not eating,” Jenkins, the former Hofstra star, recalled Thursday after working out for the Knicks.
“This is motivation for me to have the opportunity to at least get her a bank account so where she has her own money to rely on if she doesn’t have it.”
The Knicks own the No. 17 pick in the June 23 NBA Draft, and worked out Jenkins and Georgia Tech point guard Iman Shumpert, among others.
Jenkins is projected by DraftExpress.com to go at No. 28 in the first round to the Chicago Bulls, while Shumpert is projected to be taken No. 22 by the Denver Nuggets.
Jenkins, who came out of Springfield Gardens High in Queens, said he would love to play for the Knicks.
“Most definitely,” he said. “I definitely love the New York fans. For me to be the hometown kid is definitely a dream come true.”
A three-time winner of the Haggerty Award as the best player in the metropolitan area, Jenkins led the Pride and was sixth nationally in scoring at 22.6 points per game. He shot 52 percent from the floor, 42 percent from beyond the arc and 82 percent from the line. He finished his career with a school-record 2,513 points, second in Colonial Athletic Association history to David Robinson.
“For me, I think my advantage is my size,” the 6-foot-3, 216-pound Jenkins said. “I never have a problem getting my shot off.”
He compared his game to 6-5 Rodney Stuckey of the Detroit Pistons, “just because of how big he is and his ability to attack the basket and shoot. And I think that’ s a great comparison for me because I don’t think he’s one of the biggest guards in the league.”
The 6-6 Shumpert, who came out after his junior year, said Jenkins plays “at a really, really good pace, changes pace a lot.”
“I just did my best to keep him uncomfortable, it worked out,” said Shumpert, who averaged 17.3 points and 5.9 rebounds last season at Georgia Tech.
The Knicks like Shumpert and he, in turn, said he’d love to play alongside Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Shumpert and Stoudemire share the same agent, Happy Walters.
“I’m just trying to come out here and prove that I can handle the ball, I can shoot the ball well,” he said. “I can be that knock-down guy in the corner. I can do a lot of things. I’m just trying to show my versatility.”
He said he made 17 or 18 out of 25 NBA 3-pointers in the workout.
“I feel I can be that guy to step in, play one and two,” he said. “Come in right away, play alongside Chauncey [Billups] or help back up. I think I can step right in and play.”
Shumpert also prides himself on his defense.
“What I’m most ready for to come into the league is definitely defend,” he said.
Shumpert still has workouts with the Charlotte Bobcats, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics.
Jenkins, meantime, has worked out for the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls. Next week he has Charlotte, the Indiana Pacers and the Dallas Mavericks.
He said the thought of providing for his niece serves as motivation on a daily basis.
“It definitely wakes me up every day,” he said. “The thought of her not eating is terrible in my mind. It’s definitely motivation for me to come out and keep pushing.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.