I picked up the midwest edition of the New York Times today to have something to look at while having my morning coffee and was hit with the unexpected. There it was, sports, page one, lower fold, under the saga about ol' Brett's 4th quarter adventures Sunday: a feature on Brandon Jennings (hit the story link while it lasts – after a few days, Times content is pay-per-view).
What followed was a good read on Jennings' development, the crux being Jennings' trailblazing status as the first player to buck the NCAA's one-and-done deal by playing in Europe. In what seems an unintentional (or intentional) jab at the NCAA, the story also features perfectly legal text-messaging between Jennings and Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson. The NCAA investigation into this communique may yet be pending.
Here's a passage from the Monday Times that stood out:
"At 6 feet 1 inch and 169 pounds, Jennings was knocked off his game by the Pistons' starting point guard, Rodney Stuckey, who is 4 inches taller and nearly 40 pounds heavier, and buillied by Stuckey's backup, Will Bynum."
(No, that's not another Bucks nightmare or a description of Luke Ridnour's 2008-09 season; it's actually in The Times story.)
Equally outstanding on Monday was this from hometown Journal Sentinel Bucks beat writer Charles Gardner:
"[Jennings] has faced a number of top point guards already, including Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls, Aaron Brooks of the Houston Rockets and Will Bynum and Rodney Stuckey of the Pistons."
Geez, wonder what will happen when Jennings actually faces a "top point guard" like Devin Harris, Chris Paul or Jameer Nelson — but here's some more from The Times feature:
"Jennings appears to be well positioned to succeed. He is working under a head coach [Scott Skiles] who was an N.B.A. point guard, and in a city with fans who reward effort and attitude."
"So far so good, Sampson said. 'Heâ€™s doing all the right things,' he said. 'At some point, heâ€™s got to take steps forward.'"
The point guards of the league won't get any smaller or less talented as the season wears on, but here's hoping Skiles does the right thing and starts him in the season opener Friday in Philly. It is Jennings, not Ridnour, who is the face of Bucks marketing this season; and the Bucks are an organization that needs to begin regaining the trust of its fans.