The Nets open the Orlando Summer League at 9 a.m. Saturday vs. the Indiana Pacers. For the three Nets on the roster, Mason Plumlee, Jorge Gutierrez and Marquis Teague, it will be a chance to get in some work. For the three draft picks, Markel Brown, Xavier Thames and Cory Jefferson, it will be a chance to shine and for the three other players with NBA experience, Donte Greene, DaJuan Summers and Adonis Thomas, it will be a chance to get back into the league. Brook Lopez is on hand as well, doing light workouts and shootarounds, hoping to get healthy.
But for the oldest player on the 17-man roster, Michael Jenkins, it's his first -- and likely his last -- chance at a lifelong dream, to play in the NBA. Jenkins has played In Italy, Belgium, Germany and Montenegro after four years at South Carolina's Winthrop University. The 6'4" guard is a three-point specialist, hitting 45.2% of his shots from deep last year with Cantu in the Italian League.
He spoke with his hometown paper this week about the challenge, his hopes and his past.
"Yeah, yeah, this is the closest I've gotten," said Jenkins, talking about that NBA dream. "I'm just embracing it and trying to make it happen."
It doesn't bother him that at 27, he's the oldest player on the roster ... even a year older than Lopez.
"That's definitely an advantage that I've been playing so long, and always played against NBA-level talent in the summer with some of my friends, and over in Europe, just growing each year. That's definitely, definitely an advantage for me."
And he has some viewing advice for those tuning in on NBA TV or NBA.com summer league stream on Saturday.
"It's a lot of young guys trying to make this team, and a lot of guys trying to show what they can do, so it can look bad, or, unorganized at times on TV when you watch. You only have a couple of days to try and gel as a team. As a professional, especially in a situation like this, everybody is trying to make the team, so it's kind of individualistic."
- Q&A with former Winthrop Eagle Michael Jenkins, whose NBA Summer League experience starts Saturday - Bret McCormick - The State