Men's Basketball

He once threw TDs to Mike Williams. Now, SC native is in NCAA tournament with VCU

Watch: De’Riante Jenkins his football, basketball days at Lake Marion

South Carolina native De'Riante Jenkins discusses his high school days at Lake Marion as he gets ready for NCAA Tournament in Columbia, SC
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South Carolina native De'Riante Jenkins discusses his high school days at Lake Marion as he gets ready for NCAA Tournament in Columbia, SC

De’Riante Jenkins knows he made the right decision on playing basketball over football in college, but that doesn’t keep him from thinking of what might have been.

“I don’t want to hype myself up but I was pretty decent,” said Jenkins, a junior guard at Virginia Commonwealth. “I miss it sometimes, maybe one day I will be playing a little flag football.”

As a sophomore at Lake Marion High School in 2012, the 6-foot-5 Jenkins threw for 3,447 yards and 26 touchdowns. Jenkins’ main target that season was Mike Williams, who went on to star at Clemson and is with the San Diego Chargers. Williams, who caught 60 passes for 1,395 yards and 10 touchdowns

“That was the game plan throw, it up to Mike,” Jenkins said. “Triple team, double team, he was going to get it. You see him on Sundays and he is doing same thing he was doing in high school.”

Jenkins went on to play one more season of football and said he drew some interest from Notre Dame and Tennessee but decided to focus solely on basketball. He left Lake Marion after his junior season to attend West Oaks Academy in Florida and then attended a year of prep school at Hargrave Military before heading to VCU.

This season, Jenkins is second on VCU is scoring at 11.4 points a game. The Rams are making their second tournament appearance in the past three seasons.

Friday’s game is the first time Jenkins will play a game in South Carolina since helping Lake Marion to back-to-back state championship appearances 2012-13. Lake Marion defeated Newberry in 2012 and lost to the Bulldogs the following year. Those games were played at Colonial Life Arena, the same building that will host Friday’s matchup against Central Florida.

“Lake Marion is where I learned how to win,” Jenkins said. “Everyone wanted to win. I have been on a lot of good teams and that stands out to me because we were so athletic. We were such a deep team.”

Jenkins said he expects to have about 20 friends and family members in the stands for the game. He invited his physical education teacher who got him started playing basketball. Williams also will be there and posted on Twitter how much he is looking forward to seeing his former teammate play on the court.

“This is the first time he is going to see me play. I’m excited for that. He is excited,” Jenkins said. “Two people from a small town to do such big things that he is doing and I am doing. Everyone is excited and it is a blessing.”

Follow more of our reporting on Columbia is a host city for the first two rounds of March Madness 2019. This will be a place for relevant stories from The State covering host city game info to be tagged and curated.

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