The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 4, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: Henderson growing physically, mentally for Mountaineers

MORGANTOWN — One of the joys of college sports is the opportunity it presents the observer to see a kid grow during his or her time at a school.

At universities like West Virginia, the athletes come in with superior skill but as raw as steak tartare. To see their maturity both physically and mentally grow and watch their game expand and become refined gives college sports something you get nowhere else.

In high school sports, the skill level and competition are far less even, and in the professional sports, while players certainly do grow and improve, it is not normally at the rate you see in college. That is why it is almost foolhardy to assume a 5-star athlete going in will outperform a 3-star athlete throughout his career.

There is just too much involved in stretching an athlete to his potential over the four or five years from 18 to 23 that it is impossible to predict how things will transpire.

All of this is mentioned today because there is a perfect example of watching an athlete blossom before our eyes on the West Virginia University basketball team that opens its Big 12 season this afternoon against TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.

That athlete is Terry Henderson.

Henderson came under coach Bob Huggins’ guidance a year ago, a jump-shooting swingman with a lot of potential but not yet much strength or guile. He, like so many freshmen, was getting by on skill and skill alone.

Huggins, however, saw more than what was before his eyes. He saw a kid who not only could put the ball in the basket from the outside, but one who

could move inside, take a smaller man there and overpower him both in going up to the basket and coming down from it with rebounds.

Henderson was willing to learn.

“That’s one of the things I wanted to put in my game,” he said. “I worked on it this past summer, and I’ve been staying after practice some days. I’m working at close-range stuff, like jump hooks. Hopefully I can get to use it more, just so I can mess up the defenses. Hopefully, they won’t know what I’m going to do.”

He realized, perhaps best in the Purdue game, that to fully take advantage of his ability he would have to widen his horizons.

“He had a terrible shooting game against Purdue, and he didn’t get any rebounds in the game,” said Huggins, not exaggerating in either category.

Henderson was 2-for-10 shooting, just 1-of-6 from 3-point range, and literally was shut out on the boards.

“Not getting any rebounds is not good for his game and not good for ours. We have made it a point of emphasis,” Huggins said.

Henderson agreed.

“That killed me all week. My dad was on me; Huggs was on me. … ‘You can’t go all game without getting any rebounds.’ I knew that was bad. It won’t happen again,” he vowed.

The next time out, against William & Mary, he hit half his 12 shots and had four rebounds, two of them off the offensive boards.

“You’ve got to go get them and sometimes they bounce the other way, but as far as coming up with no rebounds, that’s unacceptable,” he said.

What Henderson did against William & Mary was begin going inside to the basket.

“You have to add more to your game every year,” he said. “I have to start crashing the glass more. I did it more last game, and I have to keep that up.”

It hasn’t come easily or naturally.

“I never played with my back to the basket in high school. I was a jump shooter. I’m starting to put the ball on the floor a little bit more,” he said.

“There’s so much psychology in this game,” Huggins said. “You make one of seven jump shots and you think you had an awful day. but mix in two layups and it’s three for eight and you feel like you had a good day.”

Huggins noted that no one is above adding to his game.

“Look at arguably the two best scoring guards in the how many years. When Michael (Jordan) started getting old, he started putting people on his back and scoring in the post. As Kobe’s (Bryant) gotten older, he’s put people on his back and scored in the post,” he said.

“They both did it to the point that they went and spent time with Hakeem Olajuwon. You try to make guys aware that that’s a valuable option for you. That’s what made Da’Sean Butler so good, that he could score so many different ways.”

And who is a better example of how a college player grows over the years than Da’Sean Butler?

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Growing demands on college athletes concerns Wyant

    Fred Wyant, one of the greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia University’s history, has lashed out at today’s growing demands on college athletes.
    The 80-year-old Star City resident led the Mountaineers to a 30-4 record as the starter from 1952-1955. Percentage-wise, it’s clearly the best-ever record by a QB in school annals.
    Wyant, a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, came here after graduating with honors from Weston High School. That’s where WVU coach Art “Pappy” Lewis signed him to a four-year scholarship.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 22, 2014

  • Growing demands on college athletes concerns Wyant

    Fred Wyant, one of the greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia University’s history, has lashed out at today’s growing demands on college athletes.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVU’s Fleming signs with Yankees

    Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.

    July 22, 2014

  • Quarterback front and center for WVU

    In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos