The reasons why college coaches want to get Gerald Henderson on their respective campuses are endless. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound shooting guard from Episcopal Academy in Marion, Pa. is one of the best student athletes in the class of 2006. He has incredible potential. Unselfish but also a great scorer. Need more? How about he's ready to improve his half court game this summer. How many kids can say that?
According to Gerald Henderson, Sr., a former NBA 13-year veteran, his son of the same name is already preparing for next season and what he needs to do in order to improve on an already successful high school career.
The younger Henderson enjoyed the fruits of a success from a 24-3 season. With a successful trip to the prestigious City of Palms tournament in Florida in December going 3-1 and with three wins against Philadelphia rival Germantown Academy, Henderson and talented five-star teammate Wayne Ellington didn't do it on their own.
"Doing all of that was a big accomplishment for them. They played very well as a team," Mr. Henderson said. "(Henderson and Ellington) absorbed a lot of the attention so it made the entire team to work just as well. Everyone complimented each other really well. It was nice to see."
Henderson, the No. 18 ranked player in the country in the class of 2006, is not your typical pedal to the floor fast breaking, score as much as possible kind of offensive weapon. Credit that to his father's experience and his high school team's team ball philosophy.
"They have to learn half court basketball because in AAU, it's all about that run and gun offense," Mr. Henderson said. "They needed to learn how to play under control. It's not one on five. It's five on five. You have to realized that it's not just one superstar. I think (Episcopal Academy) learned that and played really well."
High-major coaches made sure they came out to see the team play this year. There were so many, in fact, the Episcopal Academy trainer was banking on a small retirement fund on the faces in the crowd.
"There were quite a few that came in not only to see Gerald but to see Wayne, too. Most of the big colleges have been in," Mr. Henderson said. "The school trainer told me that he should have bought a t-shirt so all of the coaches that come by can sign it. He thinks that could be pretty valuable."
Roy Williams of North Carolina, UConn's Jim Calhoun and Skip Prosser from Wake Forest could have signed the shirt. They all came by. The Hendersons have unofficially visited the North Carolina schools - Duke, NC State, UNC and Wake Forest.
Mr. Henderson said his son may already have an idea on where he'll officially visit, too.
"He could possibly decide by the late spring, early summer," Mr. Henderson said. "It's a possibility but we're not worrying about it right now. It's not a pressing issue and something we aren't thinking about."
Make no mistake about it, Henderson will be a major target for the elite programs. Sources say Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Villanova and Wake Forest are all in the picture.
"We'll be looking at what's the best fit for him both basketball and academics," Mr. Henderson said. "We're concerned about the academic side of things and life after basketball just in case you don't go to the NBA. You have to plan like that."