The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 12, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: Henderson plays to his potential in loss to OSU 

MORGANTOWN — If Terry Henderson were Jewish, Saturday in the Coliseum would have been his bar mitzvah for it surely was the day he became a man in basketball terms.

A sophomore just like Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State, far less heralded, to be sure, Henderson had to open the eyes of the five NBA scouts in attendance to check on Smart’s abilities as he slugged it out with him eyeball to eyeball.

The statistics that came out of this devastating 73-72 West Virginia loss to the Cowboys give you some idea of what those scouts looked at.

        FG-FGA    3PT    FT-FTA    Reb    A    Blk    St    TP

Henderson    7-13    5-7    2-2    6    4    3    2    21

        FG-FGA    3PT    FT-FTA    Reb    A    Blk    St    TP

Smart    8-15    3-5    3-4    13    5    1    1    22

Call it a push.

True, the scouts did get to see Smart show off his goods at crunch time, grabbing off a key offensive rebound on a missed free throw down the stretch, then unselfishly make the pass that set up Markel Brown for the game-winning 3.

It was two big-time plays, but do you know why they were necessary?

Check out West Virginia’s last points in the game. Trailing 70-69 with just 1:17 on the clock, Henderson unleashed a deep 3 that seemed to be a tad short. It kicked off the front of the rim, bounced again and then dropped softly through for the shot that gave WVU a 72-70 lead and almost an upset of the nation’s 11th-ranked team.

It was a sign of how the day had gone for Henderson.

He was everyone’s hero, doing things you really hadn’t seen from him in two years.

“Is that what I recruited him to do?” said WVU coach Bob Huggins when asked if this was the kind of game he was waiting for out of Henderson. “Yes. He’s always made shots and he’s got good bounce, so he ought to be able to rebound it, he ought to be able to block shots and do some things.”

Perhaps the most stunning part of his game on Saturday was the way he blocked three shots.

These were not just blocks. They were in-your-face, take-that-dude rejections.  

The crowd oohed and aaahed with each of them, and the scouts had to look at each other and wonder who had been keeping this a secret.

Henderson had started the season injured and has been catching up slowly. The last few games the scoring has come around, having reached double figures in eight of the last nine games.

Oh, he’s had some shooting problems, as Huggins has pointed out, 2 of 10 against Purdue and 3 of 10 against Purdue, but right now he’s en fuego.

Against Texas Tech he went 4 for 6 from 3 and against Oklahoma State it was 5 of 7, so that’s 9 of his 13 3-point shots.

And, as surprised as the crowd and the media is – to say nothing of the scouts – is as unsurprised as his teammates are.

“He’s started playing like he could,” said point guard Juwan Staten. “We see him every day. You guys only see him in games. This is what he does every day in practice.”

With Henderson scoring, playing defense and, most important, rebounding to go with Staten’s all-around guard play and Eron Harris’ potential to score 20 or more in any game, WVU becomes a tough out in the Big 12.

“Juwan Staten, Eron Harris ad Terry Henderson are some of the better guards in the conference,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “They are very tough to defend against.”

The truth is as Harris and Henderson mature through this year and if Staten comes back next year, added to Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins down low with Jonathan Holton and Elijah Macon, this has the makings of a team that could be a contender in the Big 12 next season.

And when you consider how far it has come from last year’s losing season, it offers great hope for a program that could have gone the other way.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads