Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has always had a vision for his team as a whole. Each player has their own distinct role within the team's dynamic. One area that has been missing from the squad has been the athletic wing that can attack the basket. That role was filled on Wednesday when Gerald Henderson, Jr. verbally committed to the Blue Devils.
Henderson, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound wing from Episcopal Academy in Merion, Pa., officially announced his intentions on being a Blue Devil at a press conference at his school on Wednesday with his parents at his side.
Gerald, Sr., a 13-year NBA veteran and former teammate of Duke assistant coach Johnny Dawkins while together with the Philadelphia 76ers, believes Krzyzewski can mold his son into a player that can help Duke win a National Championship.
"Coach K has a certain vision for Gerald," Mr. Henderson said. "And it's important to look back at the success they've had at Duke with players playing certain roles. You look at (Coach K's) vision and you see how it keeps getting him to the Final Four."
Mr. Henderson cited Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus, asking who do they remind of in Duke's history. Perhaps Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley? And Henderson?
"Guys like Dahntay Jones, Corey Maggette and Grant Hill, they've all played that slasher, play above the rim kind of player. I think Coach K has that same kind of vision along the same lines with Gerald," Mr. Henderson said. "Plus as a person and with academics, he's got a lot to offer after playing collegiate athletics."
Henderson, one of the top athletes in the country, joins Jon Scheyer, who announced his commitment on Tuesday and Brian Zoubek, who will announce his decision on Thursday, in the class of 2006. Mixed with the recruiting class of 2005, Henderson and the incoming Blue Devils have a chance to equal the days of Laettner and Hurley.
"It has been a childhood dream of his to play at Duke," Mr. Henderson said. "He grew up in the time when Duke was winning National Championships. That's stuck with him for some time. One of the biggest reasons why he chose the school he did was because he wanted to win a National Championship."
Henderson, the No. 18 ranked player in the class of 2006 by Rivals.com, narrowed his choices down to the Devils and hometown Villanova. The proximity of the Big East program made it a difficult decision.
"If (Villanova) wasn't so close to home, it wouldn't have taken this long," Mr. Henderson said. "Gerald has some attachments there. My daughter goes there and he's really close to the coaching staff. He's become really close to them and he's always around the guys there."
Henderson averaged 18.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists as a junior and was a key figure for his Episcopal team that went 25-3.