The Stony Brook men’s basketball team will be without its top two point guards on the depth chart for the rest of the season.
Following the Seawolves’ 88-82 win over the Hartford Hawks on Saturday, Feb. 19, head coach Geno Ford disclosed that both Jahlil Jenkins and Juan Felix Rodriguez have ended their Stony Brook careers in a postgame press conference.
Jenkins will miss the rest of the season as he recovers from oral surgery. He had not played since Stony Brook’s Feb. 9 win over UMass Lowell four games ago. Jenkins’ original timetable would have had him return in time for the Seawolves’ final regular season game on March 1 against NJIT, but he elected not to pursue that route.
“He didn’t have any desire, and it doesn’t make sense to miss six ballgames and come back for one,” Ford said.
A graduate student, Jenkins transferred to Stony Brook for his last season of eligibility after beginning his career at Fairleigh Dickinson. Jenkins was the Seawolves’ second-leading scorer this season, averaging 13.4 points per game. He played in 23 games and started 20, shooting 42.3% overall, 36.6% from 3-point range and 82.7% at the free-throw line. Jenkins averaged 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per contest, breaking Tommy Brenton’s single-season program record of 1.8 steals per game set in 2009-10.
In his penultimate collegiate game against New Hampshire, Jenkins became the 12th active Division I player to score over 2,000 points. He ends his college career with 2,006 points, scoring 1,698 over four seasons at Fairleigh Dickinson and 308 in his one year with Stony Brook.
Ford also revealed that Rodriguez had permanently left the team.
“I think that it’s been a hard year for the kids, man. The administration is fighting like crazy to get us eligible,” Ford said. “Sometimes when you’re a young person, you can get a little emotional, and it’s fine. We wish Juan well. He’s a great kid. He was a good representative of our program for the time he was with us.”
He played just recently in the Seawolves’ loss to UMBC on Wednesday.
Rodriguez was Stony Brook’s starting point guard and leading scorer last season, averaging 13.3 points per game and shooting 35.5% from beyond the arc. This year, with the acquisition of Jenkins and guard Anthony Roberts, Rodriguez was pushed into more of a backup role. While he started 13 of his 25 games, he came off the bench in 10 of the team’s first 14 contests before starting the next nine games in a row.
He averaged six fewer minutes per game this year but attempted nearly half as many shots compared to last season. This year, a majority of his field goal takes came from beyond the 3-point line, where he shot 22.7%, whereas, during the 2020-21 campaign, he relied on outside shooting much less.
A redshirt junior, Rodriguez still had one year of eligibility past this season. He began his career at the junior college level at Monroe before transferring to Stony Brook. It is unclear where he will play moving forward.
Without Jenkins and Rodriguez, the Seawolves have ridden Anthony Roberts hard, playing him in 37, 40 and 39 minutes in the three games since Jenkins last played. Freshman guard Kaine Roberts from Japan played eight minutes against Hartford in the first half, which is unusual, given that he is typically relegated to garbage time.
“We’re just going to need continued contributions from Kaine and [forward] Mo Diallo and [center] Alex [Christie], [guard] Omar Habwe was great tonight,” Ford said. “That’s your chance. Everybody wants to play, and now everybody’s getting to play. That’s kind of how it works.”
With depth one of its greatest assets when it was picked to win the America East last October, Stony Brook has seen its roster size slowly continue to diminish. Guard Elijah Olaniyi also left the team earlier this month, citing injury and the Seawolves’ inability to compete for a championship. Freshman forward Preston Shumpert entered the transfer portal in January and his walk-on older brother, guard Payton Shumpert, was removed from the team’s roster as well.
Containing 15 players a few weeks ago, Stony Brook’s active roster is down to just 10 men now, resulting in increased responsibilities for those who are still around.