NBA Combine Media Availability Interviews May 29, 2009
[Read Full Article] Situational Statistics: This Year's Shooting Guard Crop April 27, 2009 •Gerald Henderson is largely a mixed bag from what we can see, as it doesn't appear that he was all that comfortable shouldering a huge offensive load at Duke.
Henderson's usage rate is well below average, as he falls much closer to the lower tier prospects in terms of the amount of possessions he used (16.5 Pos/G) than he did to the top guys. Something that is a bit concerning is that he was not particularly efficient in the relatively small amount of possessions he did use. His .95 PPP is only slight above the average of .93, and while some of that can be accounted for by the fact that he doesn’t take many threes, his 44% shooting on logged possessions can’t. Just slightly above the average of 43%, Henderson doesn’t look all that good when compared to some of his peers from that perspective. Henderson obviously liked to shoot quite a bit of long 2-pointers—normally considered a bad shot at the collegiate level—so polishing up this part of his game should make him more efficient.
Fortunately, Henderson is an athlete of the highest caliber, and that really shines through in some areas –namely his ability to finish around the basket. He ranked fourth in that category behind Jermaine Taylor (very limited sample size), Wayne Ellington and James Harden, and first in finishing off cuts, at a tremendous 77%. Surprisingly enough, though, Henderson ranks third to last amongst 19 shooting guards in terms of the amount of possessions he received in transition, which tells us quite a bit about Duke's half-court oriented approach.
As a shot-creator, Henderson looks excellent, both in terms of the volume of shots he was able to create in isolation situations (ranking 5th), and in his ability to convert these opportunities, at 42%. He also appears capable of making some plays on the pick and roll, which is a nice bonus. Like a lot of college players we looked at, Henderson is much better operating with his strong hand (his right)—converting 51% of his drives with that hand, compared with just 37% with his left. This part of his game is going to be key for him moving forward, as he ranks quite poorly as a jump shooter compared to his peers in his ability to catch and shoot (.7 PPP guarded, 1.15 PPP unguarded) or pull-up off the dribble (.79 PPP). Henderson made big strides with his perimeter jump-shot this past season, but he obviously still has a long ways to go.
In terms of his ability to contribute immediately, there are a lot of reasons to like Henderson. He does not turn the ball over much at all (5th) and draws fouls at a nice rate (5th). His athleticism hives him some considerable upside, and his defensive ability and playmaking skills are important to his stock as well. At this point, Henderson’s limitations are abundantly obvious, but they also appear to be highly correctable, and he does other things well enough to make an impact while he rounds out the rest of his game. [Read Full Article] NCAA/NIT Tournament Stock Watch, Rumor Mill March 24, 2009 Gerald Henderson clearly wasn’t ready to end his season in Duke’s second round matchup against Texas, showing just about as much aggressiveness trying to help his team out as you can ask for. He notched a career-high 21 field goal attempts, of which he converted just 7, but also got to the free throw line 13 times (making 10), helping him finish the game with 24 points. It wasn’t the most impressive performance we’ve seen from his this season by any stretch, but it was nice to see him rise to the occasion and contribute in a number of different areas.
Henderson showed his beautiful mid-range game in the first half, converting on pull-up jumpers from 18, 19 and 20 feet out when the defense went underneath the screen on the pick and roll. He also missed quite a few jumpers, though, particularly in the first half, where he may have settled a bit. Henderson’s 3-point shot has gone completely cold over the past two months, he’s made just 16 of his last 66 attempts from beyond the arc in 17 games and is now shooting a paltry 34% from 3-point range, after starting the season off 24/51. NBA teams will likely look very heavily at this part of his game in private workouts starting in May, but considering the nice form and touch he shows from 18-20 feet out, you would think he should be able to develop into at least a solid long-range shooter down the road.
Henderson has made significant improvements to his slashing game, which has really taken his game to another level. He’s attempted 97 free throws over the last 11 games, or 9 per game, after only accumulating 87 attempts in his first 25 games (3.5 per). Mike Krzyzewski is doing a great job taking advantage of mismatch opportunities that present themselves on the floor—similar to what NBA coaches do, as Henderson is regularly isolated on pin-downs and regular post-up plays, an area where he’s found moderate success. He’s also doing a better job utilizing shot-fakes to draw defenders in the air, and looks much more aggressive using his phenomenal first step to beat his defender off the dribble, going either left or right. Once Henderson gets a step on his man, it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s going to finish with either two points, a trip to the line, or both, as he’s not only an incredible leaper, but he’s also developed a real nastiness going up and challenging his man at the rim—looking like he wants to dunk absolutely everything. What’s scary is that Henderson still has a great deal of room to improve on his shot-creating ability—he doesn’t show a great deal of advanced ball-handling skills, his ability to operate out of the triple threat position is mostly relegated to using superior timing and athleticism to beat his man off the dribble, and he’s still not great at changing directions with the ball once he’s cut off. His upside on this side of the floor is considerable, as he still has plenty of room to continue to improve his offensive polish.
Very important to remember is the different ways in which Henderson can impact a game, as he’s much more than just a scorer. He’s also a good rebounder, an excellent passer, and a terrific defender as well. Unlike many star players, Henderson is a real hustler who is very much willing to step in and take charges. The fact that he’s showing such an aggressive mentality in Duke’s biggest games this season (he was nothing short of spectacular in the ACC tournament championship game for example) is really a great sign for the future, and should give NBA decision makers plenty of room for optimism. With James Harden coming up so flat in the last three games of his college career, there is plenty of room now for a player like Henderson to step up and take over as the #1 shooting guard prospect in this draft. This upcoming weekend could play a pivotal role in that. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 1/29/09 January 29, 2009 There may not be a hotter draft prospect anywhere in the country right now than Duke’s Gerald Henderson. After a very slow start, looking rusty and passive for most of the first month of the season, Henderson has absolutely taken off over the past six weeks, establishing himself as one of the premier wing players in college basketball.
Picking up where we left off in the last entry in his profile, the big story this season has clearly been the emergence of Henderson’s jump-shot. The wrist surgery he went through at the conclusion of last season seems to have worked wonders, as Henderson is shooting 45% from beyond the 3-point line (up from 32%), 51.4% from the field (47% last year), and 76% from the line (67% in 07-08).
Henderson is first and foremost picking his spots better, rarely taking bad shots and really playing under control, and has been absolutely deadly spotting up on the catch and shoot. His mid-range game seems to be showing significant potential as well, as he regularly drives towards the top of the key (going both left and right) for beautiful pull-up jumpers, creating terrific separation from his defender and seeing outstanding results.
As a slasher, Henderson still isn’t what you would call a great ball-handler or shot-creator (particularly with his left hand), looking a little bit limited at times in the half-court. He doesn’t have a whole lot of “shake” to his game, which becomes apparent when he’s forced to change directions with the ball, but he’s still been more than capable of taking advantage of his superb first step and overall athleticism with some crafty forays to the basket. He doesn’t get to the free throw line at a very good rate, but when he’s managed to build up a head full of steam, he’s managed to come up with some highlight-reel caliber dunks, as he’s truly an electric leaper and finisher around the basket.
Duke is considered by some to be the best defensive team in all of college basketball, and Henderson plays a huge role in that. He has great physical tools to get the job done, but is also extremely intense and fundamentally sound on top of that. He plays a very calm, smart brand of defense, not gambling in the passing lanes, and really executing the game-plan of Coach Krzyzewski. He comes up with a ton of steals, blocks, and rebounds—a testament to his athleticism, showing the versatility he possesses in his game.
More than anything, the biggest change we’ve seen from Gerald Henderson is the increased poise and maturity he’s shown as a junior. He looks extremely comfortable in his own skin these days, knowing exactly what his strengths and limitations are, and is playing unselfishly and under control, which has shown up in his assist to turnover ratio. He tried to do a little too much in their recent road loss to Wake Forest, but some NBA scouts have liked the fact that he tried to take over when his entire team was struggling and starving for a basket—something that we’ve never really seen much of in the past.
Teams looking to draft a go-to scoring swingman will probably have to look in a different direction, as that’s not likely going to be Henderson’s role in the NBA. Those in search of a smart, versatile, two-way player who is comfortable blending in as a role-player and offers strong intangibles to boot could find Henderson very appealing. It’s not hard to envision him stepping into a role similar to Courtney Lee’s in doing with Orlando this season. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC (Part One: #1-5) October 4, 2008 Gerald Henderson saved some of the best basketball of his career for the end of last season. In the NCAA tournament, Henderson carried Duke to the second round on a heroic full-court drive, and then almost brought his team back from the dead against West Virginia. Last season was a turning point for Henderson, who had a much-improved statistical year in which all of his numbers, production and efficiency alike, increased. Now that DeMarcus Nelson has graduated, Henderson is going to be expected to build on his 12.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.1 spg, and 0.9 bpg averages and become a leading player for Duke.
Physically, there is very little holding Henderson back from taking the next step. Though he only possesses average size for an NBA shooting guard and could work on continuing to fill out, he is a freak athlete, possessing explosive leaping ability, speed in the open court, and very good lateral quickness on both ends of the floor. He appears to have some decent toughness as well, playing out the final two months of the season last year with a torn ligament in his shooting wrist.
Offensively, his wrist injury proved to be both a positive and negative. It further exposed his most significant weakness as his perimeter shooting ability. While it is nearly impossible to predict what his jump-shot will look like since surgery, it could very well look better than what he had before. Henderson shot the ball differently all season long, lacking any consistent shooting motion or release point. Balance is the key for him, making sure he takes his time and sets his feet before shooting. He has a good deal of potential to develop into a solid jump-shooter in the future, and next season wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
Henderson does, however, show a steadily improving mid-range game. He isn’t yet a player who is going to create his own shot consistently off of the dribble, but the instinct is clearly there and he is slowly becoming more comfortable shooting from inside of the arc. One area in which Henderson should improve so as to help his mid-range game is his ball-handling. While he is certainly more than adequate compared to most NCAA guards, already possessing a developing arsenal of body and ball fakes, and the athleticism to get to the rim almost whenever he pleases, if he wishes to continue to excel at the next level, he is going to have to become a much better ball-handler. He can create space for himself against college defenders, but he will have trouble scoring against NBA competition should he not improve his ability to change directions and speeds with the ball.
One area in which Henderson justifies the hype, however, is on defense. Simply put, compared to a majority of his peers, his defense is stellar. Relying on a combination of basketball IQ, size, length, strength, and athleticism, he has the ability to guard all three perimeter positions well at the collegiate level, and looks to have all the makings of a good perimeter defender at the next level as well. Maintaining constant energy and focus on both sides of the ball is going to be a significant issue next year considering his likely first-option status on offense and his elite defensive reputation. Assuming that he can find a nice balance, however, there is no doubt that Henderson could be one of the NCAA’s top dual threats.
With all the positives and negatives in mind, Henderson showed a lot of flashes last year, enough to consider him a candidate for a breakout season. He will have to maintain his focus and aggressive play, however, if he wants to prove to scouts that he is deserving of the hype he received coming out of high school and a lottery pick.
There are few players in the country who will enter next season with as much to prove as him and there are even fewer with the opportunities that Henderson is afforded. After all, he is a great athlete with a significant amount of all-around talent who is inheriting a starring role for an elite program. The spotlight will be shining bright in Durham this season, and should Henderson take his game to the next level, this will likely be the last we see of him in the collegiate ranks. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC (Part One: #1-#5) September 26, 2007 A McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, Gerald Henderson had an up and down freshman season for the Duke Blue Devils. This par for the course for the entire team, which suffered an unexpected first-round upset in the NCAA Tournament at the hands of VCU.
At this point, most of Henderson’s intrigue stems from his upside, both from the flashes he showed last year—particularly late in the season—as well as the physical attributes he possesses, which should allow him to develop into much more over the next few years.
An impressive athlete, blessed with a terrific frame and wingspan, Henderson is a fluid player with a quick first step and notable explosiveness getting off his feet. He’ll wow you at times with the glimpses he drops—creating outstanding separation from defenders pulling up off the dribble or coming off a screen, utilizing nifty step-back moves, finishing extremely well at the basket with contact in transition, or dropping in a pretty floater after a nice take into the lane. His shot was very streaky as a freshman, but his smooth mechanics and the high arch he gets on it leaves plenty of room for optimism that it will eventually steady out if he continues to work on it. It’s really his mid-range game that shows the most potential, though.
Henderson’s physical gifts also made him a very capable defender already as a freshman at the collegiate level. He’s a smart player with very nice lateral quickness and also has good fundamentals to get the job done. The fact that he’s both willing and able to step up and stop his man gives him a chance to really develop into something special on this end if he really puts his mind to it.
On the downside, Henderson was disappointing at times with the production he provided this very young Duke team—at times looking lost focus-wise and not nearly as confident in his skills as he was at the high school level. As the year went on, he seemed to come out of his shell more and more, and Duke will need him to step up and take more responsibilities this season, as he’s clearly the team’s best athlete and probably their best shot-creator.
Skill-wise, Henderson is nowhere near a finished product at this point. His ball-handling skills are just adequate at the moment, particularly his left hand, which is almost non-existent. The ball slows him down considerably when forced to his off-hand, and he looks out of control in the process. It became fairly predictable eventually last season that when dribbling with his left, he’s almost always pulling up, and when going right, he’s usually taking it all the way to the basket. As noted already, his jump-shot was not consistent last year (32% from behind the arc)—an area he’ll have to work hard on if he’s to reach his full potential, both from behind the arc and from the free throw line (63%).
Most college players make their biggest leap in ability between their freshman and sophomore seasons, so these next few months will be very telling in terms of gauging the draft stock of Gerald Henderson. [Read Full Article] 2006 Nike Hoop Summit Game Recap April 10, 2006 Though he didn’t play as well as he did during the McDonalds Game, Henderson again showed the variety of skills that make him a fantastic prospect. He really understands how to use his athleticism near the hoop, where he glides past people and uses his toned body to shield defenders from the ball. Gerald knows how to control his body around the rim, which allows him to finish and absorb contact, as he did early in the Hoops Summit game. He made his mid-range jumper a couple times in the game as well, while showing great elevation in the process. On the defensive end, Henderson understands where to position himself to be able to help out his teammates in case they are beat off the dribble. Henderson also displayed an impressive hook shot from 10 feet out in transition, and made two really nice passes inside to open teammates. His feel for the game is great for a player his age. To maximize his potential, Henderson must work on his three point shot, which is really inconsistent at this point. His release is slower on his three point shot in comparison to his mid-range shot, but with his elevation this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. As long as Henderson is given minutes, he should produce very nicely as a freshman, especially if Josh McRoberts declares for the draft. With the number of tools he has to work with, Gerald Henderson is the type of player who can make the jump to the NBA after a year or two of college. [Read Full Article] 2006 McDonald's All-American Game, individual player breakdown March 30, 2006 The most complete player on the floor tonight appeared to be Duke recruit Gerald Henderson. In an all-star setting where almost all of the emphasis is put on 3-point shooting and highlight reel dunks, Henderson was the only guy who really attempted to showed any type of real basketball skills on both ends of the floor. Whether he was posting up his man, rebounding in traffic, slashing to the hoop, saving a loose ball, making a full-court pass, or showing off his outstanding athleticism by coming up with a tip-dunk or challenging Greg Oden for the rights to finish an alley-oop, there wasn’t much more Henderson could do to get Duke fans excited about what they have in store next year. It’s pretty rare to see a player this young be so well-rounded and versatile already at this stage in his career, but also have the type of explosiveness we saw in the dunk contest to lead you to believe that he still has a massive upside to continue to improve. His feel for the game also appears to be excellent. If Coach K is willing to give him minutes next year, Henderson looks like an early dark horse candidate for freshman of the year. After watching him play numerous times now next to his high school teammate Wayne Ellington, it's very hard to understand why the recruiting services all consider Henderson to be a worse prospect according to their rankings. [Read Full Article]