After his first college basketball season with the Virginia Cavaliers, Kyle Guy reviewed some video and was unhappy with what he perceived as a lack of performance on his part.
“I decided I was going to work really, really hard during that off-season to make things right,” said Mr. Guy, a 6-foot 3-inch guard from Indianapolis who averaged 7.5 points per game as a freshman.
“I never wanted to see video like that again,” he said.
Mr. Guy, who attended Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis and was selected as Indiana’s “Mr. Basketball” long before he would help Virginia win the N.C.A.A. championship this past season, was not referring to a basketball video.
He was upset by an Instagram video that had been posted by Alexa Jenkins, his former girlfriend, which showed her enjoying the company of a new boyfriend.
“She’s the only girl I have ever loved,” Mr. Guy said. “I was frustrated because I knew I could never find her kind of overbearing loyalty and unselfishness in any other woman, and I wanted her back in my life.”
Mr. Guy and Ms. Jenkins, both 21, met as eighth graders in November 2011 at a basketball game at Southeastern High School in Hamilton County, Ind. Ms. Jenkins was there to root for her brother, Tyler, who played for Southeastern. Mr. Guy was there with a cousin, Cody Jacob, who had gone to school with Ms. Jenkins.
“Alexa was drop-dead gorgeous, and the moment my cousin introduced us, she hugged me, so I hugged her right back,” Mr. Guy said.
But when she tried to start a conversation, he began speaking in what he described as “very short sentences.”
“It was difficult for me to concentrate,” Mr. Guy said. “I probably wasn’t making too much sense.”
But Ms. Jenkins had a different recollection. “He was shy and very nervous,” she said.
A week later, Ms. Jenkins texted Mr. Jacob and told him that she thought his cousin was “very cute,” a gleeful piece of news that was immediately relayed to Mr. Guy, who later texted her.
They began dating in the summer after eighth grade, their first get-together initiated by Mr. Guy, who rode his bicycle from Indianapolis to Hamilton County, about a 30-minute ride, to spend some time with Ms. Jenkins.
“He told me that riding his bike over to my house was just a part of his basketball workout routine,” Ms. Jenkins said, laughing.
They were soon together most days, right up until their respective junior proms — when they split up. “We had been dating since we were 13, and really needed a break,” Ms. Jenkins said.
They kept in touch and continued to support each other, and by their senior year in high school began dating again.
Ms. Jenkins eventually chose to go to DePauw University, about an hour from Indianapolis, but with Mr. Guy heading to Virginia, they again decided to go their separate ways.
“We figured we would be better off doing our own thing in college,” Ms. Jenkins said. “We sent each other a text every now and then just to touch base, but it’s not like we weren’t thinking about each other every single day.”
Ms. Jenkins said it was tough to forget about Mr. Guy, especially since she began watching his games on television.
And it was equally tough for Mr. Guy to forget about Ms. Jenkins, who would move to New York that summer for an internship with a television production company, the vision of that Instagram video still burning inside him.
“I hated being single and knowing that Alexa was dating someone else,” Mr. Guy said. “It was useless trying to find someone to replace her, because no one else could compare.”
He began paving a road back to her with a simple text asking, “How are you doing,” and after catching up on each other’s lives, he wished her good night and sealed it with a smiley-faced emoji.
“I guess that smiley face was sort of hint that he wanted to get back together,” Ms. Jenkins said.
Mr. Guy dropped another hint six weeks later when he texted her to ask her opinion about a tattoo he was considering. By now, Ms. Jenkins had broken up with the man she had been seen with on Instagram (their relationship lasted just four months).
Ms. Jenkins continued talking with Mr. Guy, who extended a dinner invitation on behalf of his family upon completion of her internship. When that day arrived in August 2017, Mr. Guy opened the door, “and my jaw just dropped,” he said. “She was as beautiful as I had ever seen her,” he said.
Thrown slightly off his game, Mr. Guy began speaking in short sentences again. “The only words I could get out of my mouth were, “How are you doing,” he said.
Ms. Jenkins was back in the familiar company of Mr. Guy’s family, which included his five younger siblings as well as his mother, Katy Fitzgerald, and his stepfather, Tim Fitzgerald. (He is also the son of Joe Guy and stepson of Amy Guy).
“I came to realize that I truly loved this family,” Ms. Jenkins said. “Kyle is a one-of-kind person who tells me every single day how much he loves me, even on days when I’m not feeling very loved.”
They were engaged Feb. 18, 2018 at Boors Head, a country club in Charlottesville, N.C., where Mr. Guy popped the question on a small bridge overlooking a sun-splashed pond.
“When I reached the point where I had run out of words to describe how much I loved Alexa and how much she meant to me,” he said, “that’s when I knew it was time to put a ring on her finger.”
Eight months later, Mr. Guy was there for Ms. Jenkins when she was accepted into Notre Dame Law School, where she will begin studying in the fall (after completing an undergrad degree in three years), prompting Mr. Guy to post on Instagram: “I don’t know where or how to start but you continue to amaze me and the people around you. I’m so beyond proud of you and today is a celebration of just that, you. Congratulations on getting into Notre Dame Law School AND accepting. God is doing great things through you so keep being faithful.”
Their engagement was a relatively low-key fair until it became national news in April, when their wedding registry appeared online and was initially thought to be in violation of N.C.A.A. rules as it involved giving gifts to an athlete.
“It all grew out of Virginia’s compliance department wanting us to be cautious about the registry, and the next thing you know our phones are blowing up and there is a 48-hour media circus in which people were writing that the N.C.A.A. did not want us to have a registry, which wasn’t true,” Ms. Jenkins said.
The saga ended with the N.C.A.A. calling a news conference to clear up the matter, stating that the existence of the registry did not break any rules.
A few days later, Mr. Guy was back in the news, as he helped the Cavaliers reach the Final Four by calmly sinking three consecutive free throws with 0.6 seconds left in the semifinal game to eliminate Auburn. He then scored 24 points in the title game to lead Virginia to an 85-77 overtime victory against Texas Tech, the school’s first N.C.A.A. basketball championship. He was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Mr. Guy, who decided to leave Virginia after three years and enter the N.B.A. draft, was subsequently selected by the Knicks as the 55th overall pick last month and was immediately traded to the Sacramento Kings. He fared well in the Kings’s recent summer league games, with Ms. Jenkins in attendance, in Las Vegas.
“I’ve always been smaller and skinnier than most of my opponents on the court, but I’ve always managed to prove that I belong,” Mr. Guy said. “To have Alexa sitting there and watching me play the game at the professional level meant everything to me.”
On July 25, Ms. Jenkins and Mr. Guy are to be married at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, where 28 guests are to witness a ceremony to be led by Brandon Ruble, a friend of the couple who became a Universal Life minister for the event.
“Kyle is a wonderful young man who has always encouraged Alexa to follow her dreams and achieve her goals,” said her mother, Brandi Jenkins, who had an inkling all along the couple would be married someday.
The soon-to-be bride said that after the ceremony, she and Mr. Guy “really don’t have a traditional reception planned.”
“My husband and I will be going to the beach to watch the sunset,” she said. “And when the sun rises, we will happily begin our married life together.”
Mr. Guy had one more short sentence to contribute: “Sounds good to me,” he said.