Westchester High School senior basketball player Isaiah Jenkins wants to stay close to home when he puts on a uniform in college next season.
In fact, heíll be just a few streets away from his current school, as the six-foot-five guard has decided to sign a National Letter of Intent to attend Westchesterís Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in the fall.
Jenkins, who was named an All-Los Angeles City Section player for the second consecutive year this season after averaging 14.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, is the first Westchester High boys basketball recruit to sign with the LMU Lions in more than two decades.
In his senior season, Jenkins helped lead the Westchester Comets to a 26-7 overall record and second-place finish behind rival Fairfax High in the Western League with a 10-2 league record.
The Comets reached the finals of the City Section and CIF State Division I Regional playoffs this year, but lost in both games to eventual champion Fairfax.
LMU head coach Rodney Tention, who recently finished his second season as Lions coach, said he was pleased that Jenkins decided to stay local when selecting a college.
ìI think itíll be a great addition for us, given the fact that heís a local guy and a talented young man,î Tention said of the Jenkins signing. ìFor him to come straight here is a move in the right direction.î
The LMU coach called Jenkins a ìgood shooter,î who also has a good size at six-feet-five.
Tention said he was also impressed with Jenkinsí basketball background, as he comes to LMU from one of the most dominant teams in Los Angeles this decade.
ìHe comes from a great program and he knows how to win games, so thatís key,î Tention said.
The Lions have ended up with a 25-36 record in Tentionís first two seasons as coach, but Tention said he is hopeful that players like Jenkins will help LMU become a winning program again.
ìHeíll get the opportunity to play right away as a freshman,î Tention said.
While Jenkins is the first Westchester High player to sign with LMU in over 20 years, Tention said the university has tried to get more talented players from Los Angeles to come to the school over the years, but recruiting has been a challenge.
ìRecruiting is a grind,î he said. ìThe kids have a lot of options.î
With the signing of Jenkins and LMU freshman Terron Sutton from Price High School in Los Angeles last year, Tention said the program is heading in the right direction in attracting city players.
But he noted that he plans to continue making sure that local players put LMU at the top of their college choices.
ìI always believe that we have to recruit the local talent,î Tention said.