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55 Cedric Jenkins

Cedric Jenkins
Hometown (Last School)
Dawson, GA (Terrell County)
1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88
May 25, 1965

Cedric Jenkins was born Cedric Cortrell Jenkins on May 25, 1966, in Cuthbert, Georgia, to Allie L. and Sammie Armistad Jenkins.  He had three sisters:  Tammye, Linda, and Edna.  He was nicknamed “Swoop” because of his long arms.  His father, Allie, coached at Terrell County High School for 19 seasons, right up until 1997 when he quit becoming principal at Little Cooper Primary School.

Young Cedric went to practice with his father. He sat on the bench next to his father during games. He learned the game from his father.  “All he was interested in was basketball,” said Allie Jenkins.  “I tried to get him interested in other things. I even bought him a baseball glove. But no way, all he thought about was basketball.”  He also grew. Allie Jenkins is 6-3.  Cedric’s mother, Sammie, a schoolteacher, is 6-foot. And soon Cedric was sprouting on up, too, making Terrell County’s junior varsity as an eighth-grader, then the varsity squad his sophomore year.  “He’s always been tall,” says Allie Jenkins.  “In the ninth grade there were some boys taller, but he just kept right on growing; steady growth.”

It was the summer before his junior year when the colleges became interested. They did so after watching this unknown kid from Dawson at the B/C camp in Milledgeville, Ga.  “That’s when I started getting letters,” says Jenkins.

Jenkins was the Georgia Class AA “Player of the Year” in 1983-84 after leading Terrell County High School to a 28-0 record and a state championship his senior season.  As a senior, he averaged 25 points, 16 rebounds, and five blocked shots a game and was named to several prep All-America teams.  As a junior, he led his team to a 24-6 record and a second-place finish in the state.  His high school career-high was 38 points in one game.  He participated in the McDonald’s Classic All-Star game after his senior year.  Jenkins loved playing arcade video games.  Quarters escaped from his pockets for the cause of Space Invaders.  Long hours were spent in pursuit of record point totals down at the arcade.

Leonard Hamilton, assistant coach to Joe B. Hall, recruited Jenkins.  Jenkins was leaning towards Georgia Tech until he visited Kentucky.  On November 14, 1983, Jenkins signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Kentucky.  He chose Kentucky over Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Purdue.  Joining him in that year’s recruiting class was Richard “Master Blaster” Madison, Rob Lock, Ed Davender, and Todd Ziegler.

As a freshman at Kentucky, Jenkins saw action in 20 games, averaging 4.4 minutes, 0.7 points and 1.7 rebounds a game.  He scored a career-high 3 points against Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena, on January 7, 1985.

Teammates and coaches say Jenkins made tremendous progress during summer months, having put on weight and improved strength. Some Wildcat players say he would earn the “Most Improved” award based on summer pick-up games.  As a sophomore, Jenkins enjoyed an outstanding game in the final game of SEC Tournament, scoring a career-high 13 points against Alabama. He also pulled down 7 rebounds against the Tide.  He played in all 36 of Kentucky’s games and averaged 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds a game.  He averaged 11.8 minutes of playing time per game.  Played some of the best basketball of his career late in the season, as he matured into a solid front-line player.

As a junior, Jenkins was sidelined for much of the early season with a stress fracture to his left ankle bone.  He played in 23 of UK’s 29 games and averaged 1.5 points a game while pulling down 2.1 boards a contest.  Jenkins was the best free-throw shooter on the squad, with an 83.3 percent accuracy rate from the charity stripe.  He scored a season-high 11 points when UK hosted Tennessee. That was the only time Jenkins scored in double figures that season.

As a senior, Jenkins started the first 11 games of the season, as well as Senior Night against Georgia.  He averaged 3.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.  He played in every game but two—against Tennessee in Knoxville and Villanova in the NCAA Tournament.  Jenkins scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a clutch performance against Indiana in the Big Four Classic in Indianapolis.  At Rupp Arena, Jenkins tipped in a last-second game-winning shot to defeat Louisville, 76-75.  He pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds against Louisville and Alaska. Jenkins blocked career-high 4 shots against LSU in Baton Rouge.  He made three steals, a career-high, against Ole Miss at Rupp Arena.  Jenkins was second on the team in blocked shots with 20.

Jenkins played what Sports Illustrated called “the biggest night of his career” on December 5, 1987 against Indiana:  “… an unobtrusive fellow named Cedric Cortrell Jenkins, who is not another candidate for president but a 6’9″ senior forward for Kentucky, fastened his name to the game in lieu of those of his more established peers. Smart and Garrett were in the process of missing 23 of 33 shots. Bennett—”our returning warrior” Kentucky coach Eddie Sutton had called the forward who sat out last season with a knee injury—was a stray Cat, crashing through screens and fouling out with 6:11 to go in regulation time. Chapman, the boy king, was heaving air balls of questionable merit. While all that was going on, all the string bean Jenkins did was hum the Wildcats a purrrrfect tune: five of five from the field, four of four from the line, five offensive and five defensive rebounds and a couple of blocks and assists. This from a guy who had averaged a no-factor 2.1 points per game for his career.  Swoop is what they call Jenkins. Why? “As far as I can tell, it’s because of my arms,” Jenkins said afterward. Good guess, Swoop. Jenkins’s wingspan is a pterodactyl-like 79½ inches.”

Jenkins graduated from UK in 1988, in just three years, with dual degrees in marketing and business.  He went on to play professional basketball throughout Europe (Belgium, Germany, and Italy) and Asia (Japan). Before retiring from the sport, he played in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) with the Wichita Falls Texans.

Cedric served as a Deacon for the Main Street Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. He also served as the new members leader for the Consolidated Baptist Church, in Lexington.

A skilled banker and a man of wisdom, Cedric enjoyed financing small businesses. He was an entrepreneur at heart and owned a GNC franchise as well as real estate. Raised in a family of educators, Cedric had a tender heart for young people and spent his time coaching and advising them. He raised two sons teaching them to step through fear and pursue their dreams.

Cedric was married to Jamie Jenkins.  They had two sons, Alijah and DeShawn Jenkins.

On Sunday, March 19, 2023, Cedric passed away.

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