Brandon Jennings, who signed with Milwaukee on a 10-day contract over the weekend, was just two rebounds away from notching a triple-double in his first game back with the Bucks. The point guard started the season playing for Shanxi Zhongyu of the Chinese Basketball Association and he credits his international experience as part of the reason he was able to make an immediate impact.
“I just was able to find myself again mentally [in China],” Jennings said (via Nick Friedell of ESPN.com). “I was really mentally messed up in the head because of my so-called career-ending injury. I always wanted to bounce back from that … but I just did a lot of manifests. I manifest a lot about positivity. So I tried to get a lot of negative thoughts and things out of my head and it really helped me. It really helped me off the court being a better father too.”
Jennings suffered an Achilles tear during the 2014/15 campaign while he was a member of the Pistons. He made stops in Orlando, New York, and Washington over the ensuing two seasons, but he never resembled his old self.
“It’s just all the hard work I was putting in in China,” Jennings said “People don’t understand, I was still hurt with my Achilles injury, so now I’m finally healthy. I was able to really just revamp my whole self, just focus on basketball and be able to just work out. So when I was in China, I just felt like I was at Oak Hill [Academy] again, just working on my game and trying to get to that level again.”
Jennings appeared much closer to his peak form during Monday’s win than he did the last time he was in the league. Coach Joe Prunty called the performance “a really positive night” and John Henson, who is the only member of the Bucks who played with Jennings during his first stint with the club, believes the team lucked into a rare opportunity with the point guard in the fold.
“I don’t think it’s a question whether he can play in the NBA,” Henson said. “Obviously, it’s about the right situation. Especially this summer, it was a rough summer for free agents. But he can clearly play, so I’m excited to have him. On a 10-day, for a guy like that to have that type of talent, it’s rare.”
Jennings is scheduled to play in three more contests before his 10-day deal expires.