Gerald Henderson: athleticism and unlimited potential

Throughout his sophomore season Gerald Henderson was a smoother more confident player than during his first season at Duke. This really isn't suprising as players routinely achieve significant improvement between their first and second seasons. In Henderson's case the improvement was more than significant. It was immense.

As a freshman, Henderson was diagnosed as sufferring from exercise induced asthma and his playing time was limited to less than 20 minutes per game. It was later determined that Henderson didn't have asthma but was simply out of shape due to being injured over the summer before the start of his freshman year. In the off-season, he solved his fitness issue and exploded as a sophomore almost doubling his points per game from 6.8 to 12.7. Significant improvement in other key statistics such as rebounding and steals was also accomplished.

Attacking the rim or pulling up and knocking down a midrange jumper is Gerald Henderson's forte. The 6-4 210 pound guard also possesses strength, which facilitates battling for rebounds. On the defensive end of the court, Henderson's ability to elevate allows him to alter opponent's shots. Athleticism defines his performance on the basketball court.

As his junior season approaches, Duke fans are optimistic that Henderson will once again demonstrate improved play. While it is unrealistic to expect his points per game to almost double again, there are areas for improvement. Henderson has dished out 91 assists over 66 games but he has turned the ball over 111 times. Improvement in his ball handling and passing skills would round out Henderson's game.

Another factor that must be taken into account is health. While it is true Henderson turned the ball over too frequently, it is also true that he played the later part of the season with a hurt wrist that eventually required surgery. Henderson injured his wrist on February 6th in the victory over Carolina in Chapel Hill. Just like several other Duke players, Gerald Henderson is in need of some good luck in regard to playing a full season in good health.

As one of four returning starters, and last season's third leading scorer, Henderson will be looked upon as a core player this coming season. As an upperclassman, he will also be expected to provide leadership to the younger players. Gerald Henderson will rise to the expectations of Duke fans and excell as a junior. Everyone should be looking for his name when All-ACC honors are dished out next March. It is not a matter of if he will be honored, it is a matter of how high he will be honored.