Catching Up With David Henderson

As the Delaware Blue Hens prepared to open their season, <i></i>'s Dave Dixon had a chance to speak with Head Coach and former Duke Player and Assistant Coach David Henderson on a number of topics including the state of the UD program, NCAA basketball, and high school ball.

What is your best memory about Duke Basketball as a player?

I think it is the overall turnaround of the program that occurred in my four years at Duke. My freshman year we were 11-17 in Coach Ks third season at Duke. In my senior year we were 37-3 and set a new NCAA record I believe we now share with UNLVs 1991team and the Duke team from 1999 which I was an Assistant Coach for. Our team also played in the National Championship game my senior yearr.

What is your best memory as a coach?

Working with kids and overseeing them develop into terrific basketball players and people. The players have a great level of talent when they get to Duke, but to oversea their continued development is great. When I arrived at Duke the program had a strong sense of family and it still holds true. To see players like Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette, Shane Battier, Roshown McLeod and all the players from Duke develop is very rewarding.

At Duke, if they are not a #1 seed heading into the NCAA Tournament, people almost view it as a down year and at Delaware, making the tournament is a huge accomplishment. Can you speak about the difference between the two programs and the adjustments you have had to make?

Duke has a tremendous basketball tradition and Coach K has raised the bar very high for Duke Basketball. I think fans get very spoiled at times. When I look at the Duke program, it is how I envision Delaware Basketball and that is the direction I want us to go in. Duke is already established as a traditional power house and that is the reputation and tradition I am working hard to create at Delaware.

Your first year as a head coach at Delaware was in 2001 when Duke won the National Championship. Obviously you were happy to be a Head Coach at Delaware but when you saw Duke win the National Championship did a part of you feel as if you were missing out?

For me, I feel I am always a part of the Duke Basketball Family as a former player and coach there.I was thrilled to death when they won it all in 2001. I felt the same happiness and sense of accomplishment when they won the national championships in 1991 and 1992 as well. I was in Minneapolis in 2001 when they won it all and it felt great. How do you feel about the current state of college basketball and the fact that basketball? The excitement in college basketball is still there, so are the rivalries and everything that made it great before as well. However, we are kidding ourselves if we say college athletics are not a business. The expansion you saw of the ACC this past summer was not done to benefit the ACC athletes. It was done to benefit the ACC. I think it will be much easier to continue on if we can be honest about that. A college student is NOT a normal college student, no matter how you look at it. The travel, hours put in and everything else make for a far different experience of college than it does for a student who is not in sports. College sports are a business and an athlete who is on scholarship is not getting a free education, they are working hard for it.

What can you say about the recruiting process and the many different evaluations of kids now available along with the decisions of kids to not attend college at all and go right to the NBA?

Recruiting is a human to human evaluation, therefore, some errors are going to occur. No one is perfect and no evaluation is perfect. The main thing that is disheartening about kids who do not go to college is the ones who do not make it to the next level. Some of the people who have gotten involved can be blamed. When AAU ball started, and many other recruiting establishments as well, it was an opportunity for people to gain financially and again, did not always benefit the athletes. I wish their was more publicity for the kids who leave school early or do not go to college at all in hopes of playing professionally immediately and do not make it. All the where are they now stories out there and the write ups you see in certain magazines about great kids then who had all this potential and now no one knows their current whereabouts because they never made it in basketball as they had hoped. The so called guardians or so called friends of these kids who tell them things that are not always accurate can be at fault. . Furthermore, you never know what is inside of a kid and how hard he is going to work. Having talent does not gurantee that success will occur.

What exactly is a Blue Hen?

I am not certain on this at all, but I think it had something to do with hen fights that occurred way back in the past in this area of the country and some how the term fighting blue hen came about.

What type of music do you enjoy?

I enjoy a variety of music and it often depends on my mood. I like jazz, R&B and hip-hip.

What can we expect from your Blue Hens this coming season?

This is our first true recruiting class since we joined the Colonial Conference. As Al McGuire used to say, the best thing about a freshman is that they become sophomores. We are hoping that proves true for us as well. We are very excited about this team and we need to focus on not making youthful mistakes. We have a championship vision and we want to play post season basketball.

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