Joe Treutlein John Henson
has steadily improved his game in each of his three seasons in Chapel Hill, but the former top-5 high school recruit
is still nowhere near his potential, which is scary given how key a role he already plays on one of the best teams in college basketball.
Henson's minutes and role have expanded slightly this season, as he's seeing a higher percentage of opportunities with his back to the basket, but his production and efficiency numbers are similar to last season.
On the offensive end, Henson has greatly improved his post-game in his three years at UNC, and has developed a solid go-to move in his unorthodox left-handed hook shot, which he uses far more often than his natural right hand. Henson's post game is unconventional in style, something that stems largely from his very unique physical characteristics, namely his very long legs and superb coordination and balance for his size.
Henson does a great job establishing a wide base in the post, spreading his legs out to take full advantage of his range on drop-steps and turnaround hook shots, getting separation with ease.
His ability here is enhanced even further by his coordination and balance, as he is very fluid going from move to counter move, and has no problem going up from awkward positions. He's very capable of finishing from areas of the court that would be difficult for other bigs, using his freakish length and smooth athleticism to extend up from under the rim, showing good ability to finish with both touch and power.
Projecting Henson's post game to the next level, there are some significant question marks, namely in how he will adjust when his notable lack of strength becomes more of an issue. Henson doesn't show significant problems establishing deep post position against college level competition, but could have a much tougher time against pros. His ability to finish consistently outside 10 feet is not great at this stage, as his jump shot is still unreliable and he uses face-up drives sparingly.
Henson's ability to finish off the ball has been slightly less featured this season, as he's forced to share touches with a very dominant offensive big man in Tyler Zeller
, but is certainly his most attractive offensive skill from an immediate perspective in the NBA.
Henson's combination of coordination, length, athleticism, hands, and ability to finish with finesse and power make him extremely dangerous operating on cuts and pick-and-rolls, both of which could be utilized even more effectively than they are now in the right system at the next level. Henson's actually been used very sparingly on pick-and-rolls this season, especially going to the basket, and that may actually be his most potent offensive skill at the next level.
One nice thing about Henson's game that has become more apparent as he's bulked up from 183 pounds as a freshman to a still wiry 220 pounds this season is his toughness going to the basket, as he has no problem going up for a power dunk when he has the opportunity, something that happens very frequently given his height and length.
The biggest weakness with Henson's offensive game is still his extremely unreliable shooting ability, as evidenced by the fact that his 50% free-throw percentage this season is actually a three year high (he shot 44% as a freshman, 48% as a sophomore).
Henson occasionally shows flashes with his mid-range jumper, and is slightly better with turnaround jumpers from the 10 foot range, but is extremely inconsistent overall and lacks much in the area of feel with his jumper. Developing an at least respectable free-throw and mid-range jumper would be very helpful to Henson's transition to the NBA, and should be a focus in his pre-draft preparation.
While Henson's offensive game is still raw and developing, the same cannot be said for his defense and rebounding, which are his strongest selling points in terms of immediate impact. Henson's tools on this end are phenomenal, and he does an excellent job utilizing them, as we've outlined in our past reports of him.
While there are some questions about Henson's ability to not get backed down in the post at the next level due to his slight frame and average toughness, he makes up for it somewhat by using his smothering length to block shots in man-to-man situations.
Henson's perimeter defense is much more of a sure thing to translate, as he possesses elite tools and abilities to defend power forwards in this regard, while also having the ability to effectively switch onto guards. He's also superb defending pick-and-rolls, showing excellent change of direction ability that when combined with his length allows him to trap hard and still recover to his man.
Henson's pace-adjusted rebounding and shot blocking are both slightly down this season, but still rank among the best in our database, especially for power forwards. He does a great job applying his tools in these areas with his excellent motor, and would likely be able to devote even more energy to these areas in the NBA as he continues to add strength to his frame.
Looking forward, Henson is already an extremely effective college player even though he's nowhere near his potential physically or technically. He should be able to make an instant impact in the pros on defense, the glass, and finishing of the ball offensively, though how effective he is on both ends of the floor initially will depend somewhat on how well his coach utilizes his skills.
Improving his perimeter shooting ability and continuing his difficult struggle to add strength and weight to his slight frame should be his biggest priorities in the pre-draft process, though he will likely be a top-10 pick by virtue of his tremendous upside regardless.