Involvement is Jenkins’ ‘Destiny’ on the basketball court

By Pat Turner

Destiny Jenkins is enjoying her time on the basketball court this season.

The Stevens senior point guard is averaging 18.5 points a game and playing a major role in helping the Falcons stay in the District 28-6A playoff picture.

Although hitting buckets from various areas on the court has provided pleasant moments, most of her fun comes from getting teammates involved.

Running the offense and setting up scoring opportunities is the No. 1 responsibility for a point guard. For Jenkins, that’s where she finds the most satisfaction.

Sure, hitting go-ahead 3-point shots or driving the paint for a crucial bucket is always welcomed, but there’s also something special about letting teammates experience the same kind of thrill.

Jenkins has made that happen while dishing out 75 assists for teammates like T’Kiya Smith, Jade Mitchell and Kyristin Castaneda.

“I want to get all my teammates involved,” Jenkins said. “I am always thinking on how to get the ball to whoever is open. If I have an open shot, I’ll take it. But if someone has a better shot, I’ll go to them. I love to see them get excited about making a shot.

“I am trying to help them to do their best. I’ve learned when to score and when not to score, when to shoot and when to pass.”

Jenkins has taken that approach since she joined Stevens’ varsity as a freshman.  Each season she’s taken her game to a higher level. Such is the case this year as the point guard is making her presence felt in a variety of ways. In addition to the assists and scoring, Jenkins has helped on the boards with 142 rebounds while also coming up with 100 steals.

“I’m trying to do whatever it takes,” Jenkins said. “Each year, I’ve learned more. My freshman year I was a little nervous, because varsity was different than playing in eighth grade. My coaches pushed me in practice to become a better player.”

Still, Jenkins’ scoring ability draws the most attention, because of her ability to produce in various situations.

In a recent contest, Jenkins was heavily guarded, but got the advantage. With a behind-the back dribble, she zipped past her opponent, charged downcourt and hit nothing but net. That came several seconds after swishing a three.

“Destiny not only shoots, but knows how to create her shots,” first-year Stevens coach Kathleen Moroney said. “Her ability to create her shots and set up shots for others is what makes her stand out. She knows how to run the show. She knows how to get her supporting cast involved.”

Jenkins’ creativity began during her younger years. In the early going, she usually played against a higher level of competition. Much of that court time included going against boys. At that time, she learned a great deal about handling herself on the court from her father Alfonzo Jenkins, currently coaching at Pat Neff Middle School.

“My father helped me a lot,” Jenkins said. “He coached me and had me play up. When I went against boys, that made me stronger. I played against my dad a lot, too. He wouldn’t take it easy on me. It made me a better player.”

Did Destiny ever beat Dad in a game of one-on-one?

“Yes,” she said with a smile. “I started beating him in sixth grade.”

 Jenkins is looking to deliver more of the goods. After all, this the second round of 28-6A and the playoff spots are up for grabs.

Clark (26-2, 14-1) continues to lead the pack. Brandeis (23-3, 13-2) is in second and O’Connor (22-7, 12-3) is holding onto third, while Stevens (17-11, 10-5) is in the fourth spot.

“We’re playing together,” Jenkins said. “We’re getting comfortable with each other. We have to keep working and be ready for every game.”

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