Cleveland States frustrates John Jenkins in a convincing early season win
After opening the season with 24 points against Oregon, Jenkins was stifled in a loss to Cleveland State as he was frustrated into 17 points on 5-14 shooting (2-8 from long distance). This defense on Jenkins was a main reason Cleveland State was able to walk away with a win. Let’s see how they managed to slow down Jenkins.
The first key aspect of the defense of the Vikings lack of help on Jenkins when a Vandy player penetrated. They did not want to let Jenkins get open looks and chose to have his defender stay glued to him instead of helping on penetration. The defender in the following frame (boxed in red) would normally help on Jeffrey Taylor, the driving player. Cleveland State was content to let everyone but Jenkins shoot, so they instructed the defense not to help off Jenkins.
Both of the following plays result in two free throws for Vanderbilt, a positive result for the offense. However, the defense of Cleveland State is not upset with this outcome because they did not allow Jenkins to get an open look at a three point shot, which could put him in a rhythm.
The main focus on defense for Cleveland State was fighting over screens to not let Jenkins get open coming off these screens, which is where he is most dangerous. By fighting over screens, they hoped to take away the curl of Jenkins and not allow him to get the space necessary to get a shot off. They fought over the top of ball screens and off ball screens, which we see an example of below.
While Jenkins could have done a little better at setting up the defense and running his defender into the screen, the Cleveland State defense did a superb job of getting into the chest of Jenkins and not letting him earn space off the screens. The defenders worked hard to not get screened and were right in Jenkins’ face when he came off the screen. As you can see from the below video, this stalled the offense of Vanderbilt as they have been known to do in the past when Jenkins cannot get open.
When Jenkins was able to find space with the ball, he rushed his shots, as he knew the defense was coming right behind him to make life difficult for him. His form was not as perfect as it usually is and it resulted in many of his missed shots being way off target. The work Cleveland State did all game put Jenkins off his game and not got him comfortable in the flow of the offense. When he did find himself with space, he rushed his opportunity and came up empty.
All the credit has to go to Cleveland State for their masterful job on John Jenkins in their win. They choose to let the rest of the team take shots and not help off Jenkins and fought over screens to not give Jenkins any space. This put Jenkins off his game and he rushed shots when he did get open. Again, we see how the Vanderbilt offense sputters when Jenkins struggles.