It is safe to say that Terrence Jennings has yet to live up to the massive high school hype that followed him to Louisville. As a freshman and a sophomore, he failed to prove himself as anything other than an intriguing athlete. Jennings is projected to start at center this season, following an underwhelming two year stint backing up Samardo Samuels and will have the opportunity to both earn minutes and to shoulder an expanded role.
Jennings had NBA-caliber size and athleticism before he even arrived at Louisville. Standing 6'10 with a fantastic 230-pound frame and impressive length, Jennings has the size and athleticism to play either post position at the next level.
For all of Jennings's physical and athletic gifts, however, he has made few strides on the offensive end. He played only 13.2 minutes per game as a sophomore and scored in double figures just three times on his way to a paltry 5.1 points per game.
His footwork is still extremely raw and, though he does a decent job of establishing position in the post, his basketball IQ and court awareness look well below average. His hands are not the greatest, either, and he rarely was prepared once he received the ball in the post. Instead of backing his man down and utilizing his superior strength, he settled for highly difficult off-balance shots in the lane.
At this stage, Jennings is most effective cleaning up around the rim where he can grab offensive rebounds in his immediate vicinity and finish emphatically. As a junior, Jennings must work to develop a go-to post move and improve upon his extremely limited skill set from becoming more comfortable in pick and roll possessions to learning how to pass the ball out of double teams.
Outside of the post, he continued to show flashes that suggest he can expand his skill set in the future. While he is a weak ball handler, he occasionally put the ball on the floor for solid straight line drives to the basket. His quick first step, mobility, and finishing abilities could potentially translate into an effective, though likely limited, face-up game.
Jennings also showed some potential in spot-up possessions, albeit on a very small amount of attempts. His mechanics are surprisingly good from his fluid shooting motion to his high point of release. While Jennings is better off asserting himself in the post, his ability to knock down shots is intriguing and is definitely worth monitoring.
On defense, Jennings lacks the ideal lateral quickness to guard perimeter oriented big men, but he has solid quickness and strength to defend in the post. He is not a particularly skilled positional defender, however, as he frequently loses his man and compensates by committing bad fouls. While he displays solid effort, he must work on maintaining focus and awareness in the team defense if he wants to stay on the floor next season.
Jennings is one of the best shot blocking prospects in our database, however, averaging 3.6 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted last season. His timing and athleticism unfortunately help him less on the defensive boards, as he struggles to consistently box out his man and grabbed just 7.8% of Lousiville's defensive rebounds.
Ultimately, few NBA players have Jennings's combination of size, strength, and athleticism, but his skill set is severely lacking. He must learn how to stay on the floor by limiting turnovers and fouls while displaying better awareness on the defensive end. He must rebound the ball better and he must work to establish a post repertoire. After all, hype does not last forever and Jennings will only remain a relevant prospect if he proves he can be just as good of a basketball player as he is an athlete.