FAYETTEVILLE -- Colorado State forward Lorenzo Jenkins, who began his college career at the University of Arkansas, will play against the Razorbacks for the second time tonight.
Jenkins was a late signee for the Razorbacks as a true freshman when the team opened the 2015-2016 season with a depleted roster. Arkansas was down to 10 scholarship players because Jacorey Williams was dismissed and Anton Beard was suspended for what became the first 10 games.
The Razorbacks didn't encounter further roster problems, and Jenkins played in just one game when he had 3 points and 2 rebounds in 7 minutes in a 117-78 victory over Northwestern (La.) State.
Jenkins, who is 6-7 and came to Arkansas from Naples, Fla., transferred to Colorado State and has become a starter this season after redshirting two years ago and playing off the bench last season. He's averaging 9.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 22.5 minutes, and has hit 42.1 percent (16 of 38) on three-point attempts and 6 of 7 free throws.
"I think Lorenzo really has changed his body a lot this year," Colorado State Coach Niko Medved said. "He's gotten into the best shape of his life, and he's gotten stronger and leaner.
"We're asking him to do more things on the perimeter. He's been making some shots for us and continuing to grow on the defensive end. He's been a big piece of what we're doing so far."
When Arkansas beat Colorado State 92-66 in Walton Arena last season, Jenkins went scoreless in 17 minutes. He averaged 3.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 13.6 minutes last season.
"Doobie is a good player," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said, referring to Jenkins by his nickname. "I'm sure he'll be fired up for this game here playing against the Razorbacks.
"We signed him late and obviously it didn't work out, and now he's found a home."
Big man matchup
Arkansas 6-11 sophomore Daniel Gafford will be matched inside against Colorado State 6-11 junior Nico Carvacho.
"It's a key matchup. They're the two big guys, but this is going to be about team defense," Rams Coach Niko Medved said. "Nico is going to get the big workload on Gafford, but it's also about the rest of our team continuing to help. Whether that's rebounding, transition defense, all that kind of stuff."
Carvacho is averaging 12.0 points and 10.4 rebounds.
"Nico's a huge key for us, and he's been playing well," Medved said. "Hopefully, he's looking forward to getting an opportunity to play against a great kid like Gafford.
"I think he'll respond. I think he'll play hard, and I think he'll play well."
Gafford is averaging 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots.
"Gafford affects the game in so many ways -- on the glass, blocking shots, scoring, running in transition, the way he can guard ball screens," Medved said. "And he plays hard.
"If you didn't already know, you put on the film for 10 minutes and go, 'Well, that guy's different.' You can see why so many NBA teams are excited abut him."
Prentiss Nixon, who as a junior guard last season led Colorado State with 31 points against Arkansas, has transferred to Iowa State, where he is redshirting this season.
"Prentiss is a really talented player, but he decided to leave, and that's part of it when there's a change," said Niko Medved, the Rams' first-year coach. "He left, but what's great is that all the other guys stayed.
"I've been really pleased with our guys. We're all growing together."
Arkansas sophomore point guard Jalen Harris has 39 assists and 7 turnovers. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.6-to-1.0 is tied for third nationally with Central Florida junior Terrell Allen.
Cincinnati senior Justin Jenifer leads the nation with a 6.8-to-1.0 ratio, and Duke freshman Tre Jones is second at 6.0-to-1.0.
Colorado State is averaging 80.0 points, but Coach Niko Medved said the Rams don't want to run at all costs against Arkansas.
"We do like to get out in transition, but we don't want to get in a track meet with Arkansas," Medved said. "I think that would be a mistake.
"We get out, we run and space the floor. So we can't give that part of our game up, but that doesn't mean we have to take the first available shot, either. I think we've got to be really disciplined and continue to attack the paint and put pressure on those guys.
"We want to play aggressive, but not be in a hurry."
Sports on 12/05/2018
Print Headline: Ex-Hog beginning to blossom