CENTENARY, Ohio — For Gallia Academy’s Adrienne Jenkins, it’s all about family, all about basketball and all about being close to home.
As a result, Jenkins will be able to intertwine those aspects beginning next basketball season — as she announced her intention to play just a few miles up the road along State Route 588.
That’s because Jenkins, on Tuesday, officially put pen to paper and committed to playing college basketball at the University of Rio Grande.
The senior’s signing ceremony took place in the Gallia Academy High School Media Center, as Jenkins was flanked by her mother Gretta Harris, Gallia Academy girls basketball head coach Joe Justice, Gallia Academy’s assistant girls basketball coaches, and Gallia Academy High School Athletic Director Adam Clark.
Jenkins believes she made the right choice by remaining so close to home.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play college basketball and now that I get to do it, I can’t wait to see where it takes me and how much time I get to play,” she said. “I get to stay here and watch my sister (Addison Harris) grow up. I didn’t want to go somewhere far and miss all of her stuff in school. The best opportunity for me is to stay here, play basketball and go to school and continue.”
Jenkins added there were other opportunities, but none of which were smack dab in her back yard like Rio Grande.
Jenkins joins the RedStorm of the River States Conference of the NAIA, and successful head coach David Smalley.
“There were a few other schools, but they were all further away. I really wanted to stay close to home and be closer to family. Rio Grande was the closest one that was interested in me,” said Jenkins. “So I picked them to continue basketball and continue my education there.”
Jenkins just recently completed her senior season, which was actually only her third campaign in high school.
She suffered a torn ACL injury as a freshman, and missed the entire year.
But, she battled back — and is grateful for the opportunity to play at the next level.
“Having to sit out my first year with a torn ACL really hurt me. But I continued to strengthen my knee and got back into it my sophomore year and just continued from there. After I tore my ACL, I never thought I would play at the college level. But now I’m getting the chance to play, and I am thankful for that,” said Jenkins. “The knee is a lot better, and it’s actually stronger than what it was before.”
And, so is Jenkins’ game.
A two-time Division II all-Southeast District Special Mention selection from the Associated Press, she averaged nine points, six-and-a-half rebounds, two assists and a steal per game as a senior.
“Being this close to home, she’s going to have a good training staff to keep her in shape and continue to work on her knee. She needs confidence in herself, but she can shoot and she’s got that body frame to go inside. She can step outside and knock a shot down too,” said Justice. “She can be a mismatch for guards and post players either one.”
This year’s Blue Angels amassed nine victories, including a 4-8 record in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“Adrienne has been a big part of the (GAHS) program. Starting off her freshman year, just talking with her and setting her goals. She went down with the ACL, but she worked hard to rehab, get better and get back on the floor. This year, she played every position for us from point guard to post. She was just a really big asset to our team and our program. She is one of those kids that if we ask her to do something, she went and got the job done,” said Justice. “She’s a good player and a good leader that is going to be missed and hard to replace next year.”
Jenkins said her playing time at Rio Grande is dependent upon how much she works from now until November.
“It is up to me and how much work I put in. Me putting in the work will determine how much I get to play there,” she said.
But by staying this close to home and her family by her side, and wanting to succeed with the RedStorm, work ethic is absolutely her strength.
“I think this is the right decision for her. She is close to her family. Very big family person. And playing too,” said Justice.
Jenkins said she plans to major in Radiology.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106