The player recaps continue with center Terrence Jennings. With the departure of Samardo Samuels, TJ finally got to see consistent minutes at the five spot and by and large, he did pretty well.
As I said, Terrence was mostly relegated to back-up minutes his first two seasons playing behind Samardo, but this past year, TJ finally got consistent run. As a result, every single one of Terrence’s relevant statistics increased. His minutes per game jumped from 13.2 to 23.4, points went from 5.1 to 9.6, and rebounds improved from 3.4 to 5.2. TJ also improved to 1.9 blocks per game and had 65 for the season.
TJ’s field goal percentage actually dropped from 62% to 53%, but that is expected with more minutes, which equals more shot attempts. In Terrence’s case, his attempts from the floor went from 115 in 2009-10 to 242 this past season. His free throw percentage improved to 66%, which is an 11% increase from last year.
All in all, not a bad year from the 6-10 senior to be from Sacramento.
In my opinion, TJ delivered his biggest game at UConn during the Cards’ 79-78 double overtime win. He put up his only double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds with 4 blocks to help lead Louisville to a huge road win. He was crucial in that game because he provided a low post presence on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he hit on 5-11 from the floor and also hit 6-10 free throws, including several key ones late.
Defensively, he patrolled the paint. Shot were either sent back or altered by his length and I think he was a key reason why the Huskies settled for a large amount of outside shots in big situations. The January 29th contest against Connecticut may have been TJ’s finest moment at Louisville.
This category has been difficult for the first two player recaps, but this one is easy for me regarding Terrence. TJ’s “performance” in the Cards’ home loss to Drexel was simply pitiful. Obviously, he was not alone as the entire team played like garbage that night, but TJ’s line was particularly brutal. In 20 minutes of play, TJ scored 2 points on 1-4 shooting and grabbed a grand total of 2 rebounds. Oh, and he also went 0-2 from the foul line. Definitely not his shining moment as a Cardinal.
I know many UofL fans get upset with TJ because he doesn’t have many polished post moves, much less any that look like polished post moves, but I take this approach with him. I’m of the opinion TJ will never do anything that looks fundamentally correct, but that doesn’t mean he cannot develop a repertoire that’s effective. For example, Terrence actually broke out a decent drop step a few times this year. Again, it did not look technically great, but it got the job done well enough for him to get a clean look.
Working off that premise, I think TJ will have enough moves to be an effective offensive presence in the paint as a senior. BUT, he must have some touch. There were seemingly a thousand instances in which TJ made a good enough move to get a decent shot off, but literally threw the ball about 40 mph towards the rim. I think his post moves are sufficient, but it doesn’t matter if he cannot put up something resembling an actual shot.
I would like for TJ to work on the finishing part of the post moves. Whether it’s a jump hook, baby hook, sky hook, or whatever, it must be an actual shot, not a pass in the general vicinity of the goal. If Terrence Jennings can finish the majority of those post moves, he becomes a dangerous player.