TDD Spotlight: Gerald Henderson

Coming to Durham for the first time as a member of the Blue Devil Family was something that Gerald Henderson was certainly looking forward to, though it certainly added a little bit of pressure to the 6-foot-5, 205lbs wing. Still, Henderson's performance at the annual event gave Duke fans a real reason to look forward to the 2006-2007 season.

On the first night of the Tournament of Champions, Gerald Henderson started strong in the Dean Dome, scoring 16 points with what one reporter described as effortless grace, helping his team to an easy win.

"I just wanted to come out and work hard and help my team win," said Henderson. "It's my first chance to show the local fans down here what I can do and what my game is all about. It didn't hurt to start strong in the Dean Dome, either."

And while he's never one to boast, it had to feel good to best teammate, friend, and future rival Wayne Ellington in the first meeting, right?

"Yeah that was something I had to joke with him about," said Henderson. "But he's a great player, and showed that over the course of the weekend."

Indeed, Ellington's first round performance was a stepping stone as the 6'4 guard helped the Playaz into the semifinal round before the team bowed out to H-Squad. Along the way Ellington dropped 29 in the quarters and 16 in the semis, despite being shutout in the first half.

Meanwhile Henderson stayed steady, throughout the event, but did show the ability to ‘blow up' on the statsheet when he torched his opponents from West Virginia for a personal event best of 26 points in an easy win in pool play at Cameron Indoor.

"It was great to play on my future court and to play well. I told Wayne that he'd better get used to seeing that kind of thing," joked Henderson. "It was probably the only time he'll be able to play here and not be booed."

And how does the future rivalry affect their friendship?

"Not at all," said Henderson. "We're friends and it'll be great to workout together during the off season down here, and it'll be cool to be able to hang out with him as well. However, during the season, and when we step on the court, I think we'll both be doing everything we can to win. That's how it should be."

Now that the recruiting process is behind him, Henderson says he's anxious to focus his full attention on preparing for Duke and the high level of ACC basketball.

"It was kind of a distraction to always have the media interested in your decision, and that kind of thing, but now that it's behind me I'm going to work hard to get a lot better. I know Duke is the standard for college basketball, and I need to work harder than ever to earn a chance to get on the floor. I need to work on my defense, and ball handling, and I want to continue to improve from the outside."

Henderson, who will graduate next May from Episcopal High School in Philadelphia says he is looking forward to attending summer school next June, to get a head start on his degree.

"That's why you come to school. I don't want to leave Duke without that."

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