This is why David Jenkins Jr. transferred to Purdue
ANN ARBOR, Michigan − David Jenkins Jr. didn't come to Purdue to be the main guy.
He's played that role before.
Now playing for his fourth college basketball program, Jenkins became a Boilermaker because he wanted to win.
But he brought that scoring mentality with him and has that in his arsenal when needed.
On Thursday night at Crisler Center, the Boilermakers did and Jenkins Jr. delivered in No. 1 Purdue's 75-70 victory over Michigan.
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"His impact on the game is very similar to Ohio State’s," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "You get into a close game and the things he did, he went 3-for-3 from 3 (in a 71-69 victory at Ohio State Jan. 5) and you can look at it as the difference. He goes 2-for-2 tonight. But he also did a lot of little things to help us."
After all, you don't become the No. 1 team in the country without guys like Jenkins Jr. coming off the bench to supply a spark.
Starting point guard Braden Smith picked up his second foul with 9:53 to go in the first half and Painter called upon Jenkins to carry the Boilermakers through the remainder of the first half.
Jenkins did that and more.
His 3-pointer with 7:18 to go in the first half put Purdue ahead 31-28.
In all, Jenkins supplied five points and three rebounds in the first half, supplying 14 quality minutes off the bench and running the point while the Boilermakers went on a 15-0 run. He'd finish with eight points, making another 3 midway through the second half to halt Michigan momentum and push Purdue back up by double digits.
"Whatever I can do to sacrifice, defensively, offensively, I'm going to do that," Jenkins said. "And then obviously, he did recruit me to score, so when I get the opportunity to do that, I am going to do that as well."
Jenkins took a circuitous route to wind up in West Lafayette.
He spent two seasons at South Dakota State, where he was an All-Summit League performer and the conference's Freshman of the Year in 2018, two seasons at UNLV, where he was an All-Mountain West honoree, and last year at Utah.
Then, on June 15, he posed the question on his Twitter account, "West Lafayette, you ready?"
Immediately, he was a locker room fit.
"He could've gone anywhere. A lot of places he'd probably play more than he does here," Purdue center Zach Edey said. "He is happy with his role. He is happy coming in and knocking down the shots when we need him.
"He's a great locker room presence. I don't think that's what people realize about him. He lives life with great joy and it kind of spreads to the whole team."
Despite having scored 1,857 career points, he came to Purdue with no ego and no expectations other than to compete.
Jenkins has scored just 63 points this season, but has been a difference maker in three of Purdue's biggest victories of the season: Marquette, Ohio State and now Michigan.
"I'm a humble dude. It doesn't bother me that I'm not how I was scoring 20 points, 30 points, whatever," Jenkins said. "That doesn't bother me because I am on the No. 1 team in the country at the end of the day and we're winning."
Sam King covers sports for the Journal & Courier. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @samueltking.
Michigan State (14-7, 6-4) at No. 1 Purdue (20-1, 9-1)
Sunday, 12:15 p.m.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Purdue vs. Michigan: Why David Jenkins Jr. transferred to Boilers