Erin Jenkins walked into the Cabrillo High gym wearing a Northwest Nazarene University sweater – signifying the place she was going to sign her National Letter of Intent for.
She ended her evening by exchanging hugs and pictures with her fellow Conquistadores teammates, signing to NNU on Wednesday night and ending her recruiting process.
Jenkins, the Lee Central Coast Newspapers All-Area Most Valuable Player last season, beamed with joy the moment she walked into the gym to sign her commitment to the Nampa, Idado private Christian Liberal Arts school.
“I’m super excited,” Jenkins said before picking up the pen to sign her college commitment. “They have a family environment – which is like Cabrillo. I like how the campus is small. It makes it more like a family environment where you can see familiar faces everywhere you go.”
During the offseason, Jenkins took part in different basketball camps across California and also took a trip to Brigham Young University before she landed on NNU’s radar, which plays at the NCAA Division II level.
With basketball-shaped balloons on one side and cookies with Jenkins' “No. 23” inked on them, her father Travis started the ceremonies by thanking all of her teammates, coaches and friends for helping her through this recruiting process.
“It’s emotional and a long-time coming,” Travis Jenkins said. “I think back to those times when she was a little girl picking up a basketball and could barely dribble it. We went through a lot of coaches and club teams – but Erin puts in the work and will now get a great education and the opportunity to play.”
The Jenkins family put in the miles and had several college basketball coaching conversations before figuring out that NNU was the ideal fit for Jenkins.
The father learned some valuable lessons on his own end when it came to becoming an NCAA family. He learned the process really doesn’t start once a student-athlete is a junior.
“All the work has to be done before that, especially with putting out feelers and film,” Travis Jenkins said. “It was definitely a learning experience. But it’s a blessing with where she’s ending up. I always told Erin that you’ve got to go to the place that wants you. And NNU is that place.”
He wasn’t the only one ecstatic for Jenkins, so was the man who will be coaching her for the fourth season in a row: Jenkins’ head coach Jared McCune.
“It’s exciting. We always knew Erin had the potential to play at the next level,” McCune said. “She’s worked really hard. They’re getting a really good player. She can now finish out her career at CHS on a high note.”
McCune added that Jenkins is his first NCAA college basketball signing under his coaching watch. His conversations with the NNU staff gave him even more comfort in that his top scorer will be in good hands.
“Their coaches are really excited to have her,” McCune said. “I think she was one of their top recruits. They know the caliber of player she is not just as a player, but as a person.”