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News » BUCKS Jennings finds his footing Point guard gets vote of confidence from team


BUCKS Jennings finds his footing Point guard gets vote of confidence from team


BUCKS  Jennings finds his footing  Point guard gets vote of confidence from team By CHARLES F. GARDNER

Brandon Jennings must be feeling the buzz, at least a little bit.

TNT analyst Charles Barkley is saying the Milwaukee Bucks rookie should be on the all-star ballot and that fans should be voting for him.

Teammates are singing his praises, and center Andrew Bogut said after the Bucks' victory over Denver that Jennings "was playing out of his mind at the moment."

Even Bucks coach Scott Skiles found it hard to criticize his 20-year-old point guard after Jennings put up 32 points, nine assists and four rebounds against the Nuggets.

"This was different than the games he has played so far because of the way Denver offensively puts the pressure on you," Skiles said. "Every one of those guys can drive, they shoot the ball; the second you relax their experience takes over."

But Jennings said veteran Bucks guard Michael Redd had some sound advice for the rookie's matchup against Nuggets veteran Chauncey Billups.

"I was trying to figure it out a little bit," Jennings said. "I didn't want to try to do too much. When Mike said, 'Just play your game,' then it started working out."

Jennings faces a new point guard in nearly every game as he makes his first trip through the league.

On Saturday, he went up against Golden State rookie Stephen Curry, who was selected No. 7 overall by the Warriors.

On Monday, he will be tested by Dallas veteran and Olympic star Jason Kidd, and Wednesday, he will see New Jersey's Rafer Alston, with Milwaukee native Devin Harris sidelined by an injury.

"It's no individual matchup to me," Jennings said of facing Curry. "I just want to go in there and get a win and get out. It's nothing personal to me. Hey, they skipped out on me. It's a business, and that's how things are."

Jennings has faced several teams that passed over him in the draft, letting him fall to the Bucks at No. 10.

The New York Knicks visited a week ago, and Jennings was swarmed by New York reporters asking him whether he thought the Knicks made a mistake by passing him up at No. 8.

Jennings responded by saying he thought the Knicks would take him and that he would have been a fit in coach Mike D'Antoni's offense.

But Jennings stressed that he's happy to be playing for Skiles and helping the Bucks .

Jennings said "it was pretty cool to hear from Charles," referring to Barkley's comments at halftime of the Los Angeles Lakers-Phoenix Suns game Thursday night.

But Jennings is not on the all-star ballot, and he said, "It's a little too early to be talking about that."

He has preferred to talk about his teammates, from veteran point guard Luke Ridnour to Redd to Bogut.

"It's the team doing it," said Jennings, who was being filmed by a crew from NBATV after the Bucks' practice session Friday. "It starts with my teammates. Bogut is playing well right now; Charlie Bell is coming in and picking up the slack for Michael Redd. Everyone's contributing."

Entering Saturday's game, Jennings was averaging 20.7 points to lead all rookies, and he also was among the leaders in assists (5.2) and minutes played (32.6).

Jennings and Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans both have flirted with triple-doubles in the impressive opening weeks of their rookie seasons, and Jennings did it in his first pro game.

"He's playing at a high level, and he's playing with confidence," Redd said. "He has a vote of confidence from all his teammates and the coaching staff.

"He's going out there and just playing."

Jennings' confidence could be seen when he knocked down back-to-back three-pointers at a key stage in the fourth quarter against Denver. And he stayed cool while sinking 6 of 6 free throws in the final 22 seconds to secure the victory.

"He's competitive," Redd said. "Even in practices, I'll be teasing him when his team is losing.

"He hates losing, man, which is a great sign."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)


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Added: November 16, 2009

 

 
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