By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University senior forward Jordan Jenkins (Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) has been chosen as a finalist for the prestigious Jostens Trophy, which is awarded each year to the nation's top NCAA Division III men's basketball player and the top women's basketball player. The award takes into account, basketball ability, academic success, and community service.
The Jostens Trophy is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Salem, Virginia. The trophy models the Rotary International motto of "Service Above Self" by recognizing those who truly fit the ideal of the well-rounded Division III student-athlete.
"It is an honor to be chosen as a finalist for such a prestigious award," Jenkins said. "It means so much to me that being a finalist encompasses more than just the performance on the basketball court, but also the academic and community service aspects that are even more important to me. I'm thankful for my coaches for putting me in the right place to succeed on and off the court, and for my teammates for pushing me and making me a better person every single day."
Jenkins is one of 10 men's basketball finalists for this year's Jostens Trophy, and he is the seventh Willamette player to be named a finalist in the award's 22-year history. Previous finalists from Willamette were Brad Nelson (1999), Shawn Gahr (2000), current Head Coach Kip Ioane (2001), Ryan Hepp (2003), Cameron Mitchell (2010), and Sean Dart (2013).
"Being a finalist myself and having played with or coached the other five finalists from our program's history, I can say without hesitation that Jordan fits the exact billing to deserve this national honor," Ioane said. "He epitomizes what the trophy stands for, and his combination of success on the court and in the classroom, combined with his commitment to bettering his community, is the model D3 strives for."
During the 2018-19 season, Jenkins was named First Team All-Northwest Conference. He led the NWC with 22.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per conference game. He was the only Willamette player to start all 25 games, and he averaged 20.0 points and 10.3 rebounds per game for the entire season. He placed eighth all-time for the Bearcats in season scoring average.
He shot 58.4% on field goals (180 of 308) this year to tie for eighth on Willamette's all-time list. In addition, he made 127 of 168 free throws (75.6%). He scored in double figures in 24 games and earned 20 or more points 16 times. He earned 16 double-doubles on double-digit points and rebounds. He ranked ninth in double-doubles in NCAA Division III during the regular season.
Additional NCAA rankings for Jenkins included 17th in defensive rebounds per game (7.96 avg.), 28th in total rebounds (257), 33rd in total rebounds per game (10.3 avg.). He was 54th in the nation in field goal percentage (58.4%), 57th in total points (501), and 63rd in points per game (20.0). He finished 28th in free throw attempts, 33rd in free throws made and 59th in total field goals made.
He scored over 30 points in back-to-back games near the end of the season, while setting a new career-high each time. He registered 31 points against Pacific University on Feb. 5 , and then scored 32 points against Puget Sound on Feb. 9. He also grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds in the game versus Pacific.
Jenkins finished four years at Willamette with 1,109 career points and 588 career rebounds in 80 games played (71 starts). He also achieved 219 assists, 62 blocks and 57 steals. He averaged 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for his career. After playing limited minutes as a freshman, he averaged 20.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.0 steals over his final three seasons. He played in 74 games and made all of his starts over those three years while missing only one game.
The selection process for the Jostens Trophy also considers each nominee's academic endeavors and community service. Jenkins, an Economics major who is participating in Willamette's 3/2 MBA program with an emphasis in Finance and Accounting, has achieved a 3.44 overall cumulative GPA.
He has coached youth baseball and basketball in Orange Country, California, during the summers. He helped run a basketball clinic at Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility in Salem, Oregon. He and teammates cleaned the Home Youth Center in Salem. He is a member of Willamette's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Jenkins was a team captain at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. He was a panelist at the 2019 NCAA Inclusion and Diversity Conference.
Ballots from voters for the Jostens Trophy are due by March 7, with the winning schools expected to be notified by March 8. The awards presentation is scheduled for Thursday, March 14 at the Salem (Va.) Civic Center in conjunction with the NCAA Division III women's basketball semifinals and championship game set for March 15-16.