October 14, 1974 |
Elizabeth, New Jersey
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Listed weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
|High school||Elizabeth (Elizabeth, New Jersey)|
|NBA draft||2001 / Undrafted|
Jenkins graduated from New Jersey's Elizabeth High School in 1993, but was ineligible from basketball his senior season due to academics. He played one season at Union County College before leaving to tend to the birth of his son, Hakeem. Over the next three and a half years, Jenkins worked for the United States Postal Service, as an electrician, and on the back of a garbage truck. Once he saved up some money, he decided he wanted to go back to college and play basketball.
While at William Paterson University, Jenkins was a three-time Division III Player of the Year (1999, 2000 and 2001). He also was a three-time Division III All-American, holds numerous school records, and also was named 2001 Basketball Times Division III Player of the Year. Jenkins was also the winner of the 2001 ESPN NCAA dunk contest, beating former Division I standout Jeff Trepagnier. USC's Trepagnier, one of college's most prolific high flyers, missed his last dunk attempt, and the 6'1" (1.85 m) Jenkins had one up his sleeve, wrapping it up with a foul line two-foot leaner.
He attended all three NBA pre-draft camps, but was undrafted in the 2001 NBA Draft. In the summer of 2001, Jenkins attended rookie camp with the Orlando Magic and also received an invitation to training camp with Orlando. However, he declined the invite and signed with Cimberio Borgomanero, a team in the Italian second league. He received a guaranteed one-year contract. He spent the 2002 Summer League with the New York Knicks and the 2003 Summer League with the Seattle SuperSonics.
Horace Jenkins got his break in the summer of 2004, playing in the Summer League with the Detroit Pistons. He was playing for AEK Athens BC overseas, with Pistons draft pick Andreas Glyniadakis. Pistons President Joe Dumars was watching film of Glyniadakis and spotted Jenkins. Jenkins averaged 20.0 points, 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals in 12 games with AEK Athens BC. Impressed, Dumars invited Jenkins to summer camp in 2004. In summer camp, Horace averaged 8.2 points and 2.8 assists in 5 games. That was enough to garner a guaranteed contract from the Pistons, which he signed on August 4, 2004. His contract was a one-year deal worth $385,277.
Jenkins started the 2004–05 season on the injured list, but did see NBA game action 15 times. He was on the bench for the raising of the Pistons' 2004 championship banner, as well as the Pacers–Pistons brawl. Rumors circulated that he was being traded to the Chicago Bulls, and also that he was going to leave the Pistons and return to Italy. His NBA debut was a two-minute stint against the San Antonio Spurs. He scored 9 points the next night against the New Orleans Hornets. Jenkins scored a career-high 10 points on December 10, 2004 against the Atlanta Hawks. He was one of only three Pistons to score in double figures that game. He scored 2 points in his hometown of New Jersey on February 5, 2005. Five nights later, in a rematch of the 2004 NBA Finals, Jenkins scored 8 points in only 6 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers. He scored 6 points in 20 minutes in his final NBA game, against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Although he was left off the playoff roster, the Pistons made the NBA Finals for the second straight year. Jenkins was notable for being one of the oldest rookies in the NBA, and his life story was the subject of a short presentation narrated by Jamie Foxx on ABC during the 2005 NBA Finals. Jenkins took the long route to the NBA, working to support his family and then playing in Europe before signing his first NBA contract at the age of 29.
In 2005 Jenkins signed a contract with the Israeli team Hapoel Jerusalem B.C.. In 2006, he signed for Turkish giants Efes Pilsen SK. In the middle of the 2006-2007 season, he returned to Hapoel Jerusalem, and helped the team reach the Israeli league Final Four in which the team lost to arch rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv. On August 3, 2007 Jenkins signed with Italian team Climamio Bologna on a one-year contract.
- Coffey, Wayne. "MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY Horace Jenkins, 26, goes from William Paterson to possible NBA first-round pick", New York Daily News, April 22, 2001. Accessed March 1, 2008. "It is a prodigious jump, even for someone with a 44-inch vertical leap. It is even more impressive, considering that Jenkins: Never played his senior year at Elizabeth High School"
- PRO BASKETBALL; N.B.A. Dream Is Alive For Jenkins, Almost 28 - New York Times