Kris Jenkins' life hasn't slowed down since 'The Shot'

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- He played pickup ball at North Carolina.

With the Tar Heels.

And he lived to tell about it.

Forget the shout-out from the president of the United States and the social media mentions from other famous people.

Of all the crazy things that have happened to Kris Jenkins in the past months, that game in Chapel Hill has to rank at the top.

Jenkins, you'd think, wouldn't be terribly popular on the UNC campus. He, of course, was the Villanova player who delivered the buzzer-beating, game-winning, Carolina-downing 3-pointer in the national championship game -- in one swish negating a would-be Marcus Paige shot for the ages and denying the Tar Heels their sixth national title.

But as he arrived on campus with Tar Heels guard Nate Britt (the two, raised together after Jenkins' mother turned to the Britt family for help, call each other brothers), he was welcomed into the open gym game. He even spoke briefly to Roy Williams.

"He was great,'' Jenkins said. "Told me it was a great shot.''

So that happened.

And so have a lot of other things happened to Jenkins, who is learning quickly what instant celebrity actually means.

On April 4, he was an ordinary Division I basketball player: extremely talented, wildly confident and maybe even a little bit nervy. But not much different than any of the extremely talented, wildly confident and slightly nervy athletes who play college hoops.

On April 5, he became a legend. That shot, which literally slipped through the net as the horn sounded, is one of if not the most iconic in NCAA tournament history, the shiniest of Shining Moments.

Ever since he walked off the court in Houston, Jenkins has been stopped by people -- kids and adults, college peers and old alums -- who first want to relive what they saw and, second, to thank him. He will, as the adage goes, never buy a drink in Philadelphia again, with his heroics not only lifting Villanova out of its 1985 past but also giving a city starved for a winner something to celebrate.

"It's humbling, really humbling,'' Jenkins said.

It had been more than two months after his shot and Jenkins was sitting in a Villanova assistant coach's office. The reception area of the basketball office had been crammed with the trophies from the season.

It has been crazy for everyone associated with the Wildcats. Jay Wright has met with, spoken to or been feted by just about every head of state short of the Dalai Lama. And it's been especially overwhelming for the 22-year-old Jenkins.

He was trying to tick off all of the things that had happened to him since April, certain he had missed more than a few. Along with the national media appearances and local spots, he had been hit up by countless people on social media, regular fans and a few famous ones too.

Jalen Rose and Kyrie Irving both mentioned Jenkins, as did OB O'Brien, one of Drake's video regulars and longtime friends.

That one was especially appreciated.

"Drake's my favorite rapper,'' Jenkins said. "To have somebody from his crew put me on their Instagram page, I was hyped.''

On Twitter, Christian Laettner, whose 1992 buzzer-beater against Kentucky stood as "The Shot" in college basketball for 24 years, shared a picture of a celebrating Jenkins with a crown on his head. "Passing the crown to Jenkins,'' Laettner wrote.

"His shot has been the defining moment of the tournament,'' Jenkins, shaking his head, said of Laettner. "For him to feel that way about my shot? Man.''

And then there was the visit to the White House, a surreal day for a kid who spent his high school years in Maryland -- and one made all the more unforgettable when President Barack Obama not only called out Jenkins by name, he also used his nickname. "Kris Jenkins, aka Big Smoove,'' the president said, using the moniker sportscaster Gus Johnson bestowed on Jenkins.

"I was shocked,'' Jenkins said. "I actually laughed because I thought it was so funny.''

In the immediate aftermath, between the title game and Villanova graduation, Jenkins also was besieged by classmates who stopped him on campus or caught him before he went to his room.

Even he couldn't stop watching the replay.

He has dialed back the viewing lately. But at its peak, Jenkins watched the game a few times a day, he admitted.

"And it got better each time,'' he said with a chuckle.

Jenkins isn't amazed that the shot went in; he's stunned at how open he was. Villanova practiced that end-game situation nearly every day, but against his own teammates, who knew how the play broke down, Jenkins never got a shot.

"I was never open,'' he said. "Never. I was surprised playing other teams how they never put anyone on the ball. I knew taking the ball out if I got anywhere near [Wildcats guard] Ryan [Arcidiacono] and got in his line of vision, I'd be wide open.''

If that's the part of the game that still stuns Jenkins, it's the part that will always haunt Britt. The two shared a two-hour heart-to-heart after the championship, not so much reliving the game but marveling at the twists and turns that led them to NRG Stadium -- on the same court but on opposing sides.

Britt has been more than a good sport about it all. He has been a supportive brother, happy for Jenkins' success, comfortable (or is it brave?) enough to take Jenkins to Chapel Hill for that pickup game.

But he quite literally can't escape that championship, not even in his own house.

Jenkins and Britt's bedrooms are side by side.

Naturally, Britt's is decked out in Carolina blue, complete with the Tar Heels' ACC Championship and Final Four swag from this season.

And then there's Jenkins' digs next door.

"When you walk into my room, there's a big flag that says, 'Villanova National Champions,''' Jenkins said. "I think Nate's been in my room twice since we got home. He tries to limit his visits.''

Hey, there's only so much a man can take.

The rest of the world might want to relive Kris Jenkins' buzzer-beating fame.

That doesn't mean his brother has to.