NEWARK, N.J. -- Pro basketball may be a vagabond world, with its swirl of travel, trades and job insecurity. But former Hofstra star Charles Jenkins, only 22 and barely a month into his NBA career, seems to have the hang of putting down roots.
Starting his eighth straight game for the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night, Jenkins was limited by early foul trouble, scoring two points and handing out two assists in a 107-100 loss to the Nets.
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But his coach, former St. John's and NBA standout Mark Jackson, was declaring that Jenkins "is not a rookie. With his mind-set, he's a true veteran, the first in the gym, the last to leave. He's done everything I've asked of him."
"He said that?" Jenkins asked. "I don't know, that's a good and bad thing. You're a rookie, you're allowed to make mistakes. If coach said that, that means the mistakes are over. So, I think I'll hold onto the rookie title a little bit longer."
A high second-round draft pick, Jenkins has stepped in for injured Stephen Curry at point guard "and we haven't missed a beat," Jackson said.
"The first thing you look for in rookies," Golden State forward David Lee said, "is guys who want to learn from their teammates and coaches. Charles has been as good as any rookie I've seen at those things. With Steph out, he's gotten a bigger chance, and he's made the most of it."
Jenkins brought to the NBA Hofstra's all-time scoring record and a three-year run as the New York metropolitan area's best player, as well as what Hofstra coach Mo Cassara called a "unique determination." Plus, new teammate Nate Robinson noticed, Jenkins "is from the East Coast, with that kind of swagger New York guys have."
The rush of games, increased in this lockout-delayed season, hasn't intimidated. "In college," Jenkins reasoned, "you have a bad game and you have time to sit on it, think about how bad you played," he said. "This helps me work on my short-term memory."
Moving cross-continent from his Queens home, finding a role as a setup player after four years of being Hofstra's go-to guy all have been "very comfortable, surprisingly," Jenkins said. His first appearance back on the East Coast took him aback somewhat, because "this cold weather is the first thing I didn't miss. At all."
"Sometimes," he said, "I get into these big arenas, I look around and say, 'Man, I'm an NBA player.' But once that ball goes up, there's someone trying to take your head off. So there's not much daydreaming about that.
"And being in the NBA, you notice that you can be here one day and gone the next."
Cassara told of being in Wilmington, N.C., for a game with the Hofstra team the night of Jenkins' first pro start, in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
"I took the whole team to a bar that had a satellite TV," Cassara said. "We're there drinking our lemonade, and when Charles scored the first basket, everybody went bonkers."