On Halloween night in 2009, Brandon Jennings dressed up as a superstar. And maybe he wasn’t exactly familiar with the Halloween concept either, as he kept that costume on a month into his rookie season before taking it off, maybe for good.
He broke onto the scene with a near triple double in his first game and things got even better in November. He gave fans a number of nights to remember in that first month of his career, but his home opener was as memorable as any. Jennings was still a mystery at this point (a different kind of mystery than he is now). He struggled mightily in his one season in Europe, but still talked the game of a lottery pick, of a top ranked high school player. He declared himself better than Ricky Rubio, and brought back from Europe a shoe deal with Under Armour. Was he just another brash NBA rookie? Or was there something more to this guy?
That night, it looked like there was quite a bit to Jennings. He went from loud mouth, to leader after stealing the show in his second NBA game. The 55-point game stands out now, but at the time, Jennings 1:48 of mayhem in the third quarter that night was all Bucks fans needed to get on board. Starting with the Bucks down two, he capped it off with a three to put the Bucks up seven. But it was his “Kobe Without the Dunk” move that was most memorable.
It wasn’t just that he got hot that had Bucks fans so excited, it was the way he did it. The way he seemed to decide to take the game over. If any other player on the Bucks had a hot stretch, it would be coincidence. That month, for Jennings, it was talent. Where has that gone? No one is really sure. Jennings can still get hot, but he’s lost that incredible ability to take a game over by choice long ago.
That’s what’s kind of fun about Jennings and why Bucks fans keep convincing themselves he’s already a star. No one knows where whatever got into him in that first month came from or where it went. But all that mystery is what keeps fans going.
The mystery is why Bucks fans keep hoping Jennings will pull that superstar costume out of the mothballs again and wear it for a little longer this time.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.