Chris Jenkins is a versatile wing out of U of D Jesuit High School, Jordan Morgan’s alma mater. I got a chance to talk with him about the recruiting process, what he thinks of Michigan, and his relationship with Morgan. (Photo: Detroit News)
Describe your game. I kind of changed my game from last year. I’m really letting the game come to me. I start the game by shooting a couple of jumpshots to see if my shot’s falling. If it’s not falling, I turn into a slasher — I slash to the basket and I try to get some midrange shots in there and try to take it to the hole to get to the free throw line. But if my shots are falling, then it’s going to be a long day at the 3-point line (laughs).
How’s the high school season gone for you? Well, at the beginning of the season we changed our playing style, so it took me a long time to actually getting used to playing in a motion, dribble-drive offense. But I kind of got the hang of it now the second half of the season and we’re going to the playoffs now. Our season started off kind of rough — the last couple games have been rough — but we’re looking to bounce back in the playoffs.
I finally was able to chat with Max Bielfeldt, a 2011 big man from Peoria, Illinois who Michigan has been talking to over the past couple months. Michigan coaches gave him an official offer about a week ago but asked him to keep it on the low until yesterday. Max also holds an offer from Illinois, and his decision will be between those two schools. Here’s what Max had to say.
Describe your game. I like to play inside mostly, but I can go out and stretch the defense and hit a 3 as well.
How’s the high school season gone? We just had our first regional game this past week. We had an undefeated season at 26-0 and we just won our first playoff game and we’re headed to round two for the regional championship.
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You played on teams that had to cope with the weight of the NCAA Tournament hanging over your head — including some that fell short and one that celebrated on Selection Sunday. How hard is it to keep the right mindset and how do you see this team reacting to a game this big — rivalry, NCAA tournament implications, etc.?
I feel like I say this every single time I’m asked a question like this. So if I’m being repetitive, please excuse me. Coach Beilein is great at keeping things in perspective. Yes, making it to the NCAA Tournament is the end goal, however, we focus on winning the day that’s present. That means… let’s win in practice today, let’s win in the weight room, etc. Let’s give our all to today. And the belief is that at the end of the season, if we’ve won our share of individual days with great focus and effort, chances are we’ll be dancing come March. And I think Coach Beilien has done a wonderful job of getting this through to the team throughout the season, even when they were 1-6 to start Big Ten play. With all that said, I think this team has nothing to lose, similar to our team in 08-09. They were expected to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten this year and no one really expected 18 wins at this point in the season. As a result, this young squad can just go out, play hard and see what happens. I expect a very close game on Saturday and hopefully we can pull it out.
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First reported by Greg Stewart of the Peoria Star, and confirmed by our Joe Stapleton, Michigan has offered Peoria Notre Dame big man Max Bielfeldt a scholarship. Bielfeldt has already visited Michigan unofficially and Illinois officially and wants to take an official visit to Michigan before deciding between the two schools. Bielfeldt also told Joe that Illinois wants an answer sooner than later. Look for more from us in the coming hours but here’s more from the Star:
Michigan began recruiting Bielfeldt in earnest after the holidays. Coaches from the Wolverines staff have attended a handful of Irish games, with the scholarship offer coming from Michigan head coach John Beilein last week. Bielfeldt said he had the offer from Michigan when he made an official visit to Illinois on Feb. 26. He was asked by Michigan, however, to keep it quiet until Beilein could inform other recruits they were no longer in the Michigan picture.
“Initially, Michigan wasn’t going to offer until after the season,” Bielfeldt said. “But I guess when I got an offer from Illinois, it changed their time table.
“He told me they decided they needed a big more than they needed a guard,” Bielfeldt said of his conversation with Beilein. “He wanted a chance to talk to the other players they were recruiting before this got out.”
Bielfeldt confirmed that this development made Illinois and Michigan the only two schools he is now considering. He didn’t give a timetable for any decision, however, saying that he still wants to make an official visit to the Ann Arbor campus before he decides.