Henton - State's Top Freshman Talks MSU
LANSING, MI -- There are many players around the state who can stake a claim to being arguably the State's Top Freshman hoops star, but most observers agree, Lansing Eastern's LaDontae Henton standS at the top of the pack.
Henton played a major role for Lansing Eastern this season despite being just a freshman and already has two scholarship offers from major programs dating back to last year when he was in junior high school!
Now currently starring with the Lansing based Michigan Mustangs, Henton is gearing up for his sophomore season.
"Summer's been going pretty good," he said. "I was down at Speice a couple of weekends ago. There was a lot of competition better than up here but we did pretty good. We went out earlier than we thought we would by (LeBron James Shooting Stars), we lost by a little bit, but it was a good experience."
A week earlier, Henton opened eyes in North Carolina on the AAU circuit. The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder finally got to play in his age group, something that rarely happens due to his physically imposing size and stature.
"I was at Bob Gibbons, I was the third leading scorer in the 15 and under. I got to play with my real age group and I was selected for the all-tournament team."
Despite his success this summer, Henton is not content with where he is now as a player, he's working to continue to improve to become more of an all-around player.
Every weekend it feels like I'm getting better. I work on my game all week and then on the weekends it shows.
When I'm working on my game, since I'm already good in the post, I work on my perimeter game, my passing, my dribbling, you know, trying to get my 'guard' game up, to be the complete package.
It's a rare thing for a player younger than 16 to get an offer from a major college so you wouldn't expect Henton to have any just yet, but he told GSN that is not the case.
"I have a couple of offers. I got an offer from Utah when I was in the eighth grade, Utah and Penn State, since then I haven't had any more offers.
How does a player get a scholarship offer when he's still in junior high school?
"It was the coach from Oakland, you know "Smitty" (Utah assistant coach Jeff Smith), he worked at Oakland (University) and now he's at Utah. He already knew about me, so when he went to Oakland, he came up in June to see me play a little bit, he liked my game, so he offered me." So is he already getting coaches calling his house and his family, blowing up his cell phone?
"No, not really, its more like letters," he said.
And as you would expect, the great Michigan State basketball staff are among those who are putting themselves in contention for this outstanding talent.
"I'm hearing from UCLA, Arizona and Michigan State. Michigan State is looking at me real hard, I've got all of these football camp letters and also for basketball camp.
Henton is a terror in the low post, an accomplished player who has a drop step, an up and under move, a turnaround face up jumper and a nice 12-foot shot At 6-foot-6, is he destined to be an Adrian Dantley/Charles Barkely type who mastered the post up game despite being undersized?
"My doctor said I'll probably end up about 6-foot-8," said Henton who said, he hasn't even started lifting weights, but is naturally gifted with his size and strength.
"I've never lifted weights in my life, I'm just built like this. I'm in shape. I'm still going to get in the weight room, this summer."
Henton is wrapping up his summer AAU season and looking forward to the season ending Nationals with his teammates on the Michigan Mustangs squad.
"(The season) starts in April and ends in July," explained Henton. "After Las Vegas there's like one more week after that then its over. That's the biggest tournament, that the Nationals. There's like the Adidas tournament and the Nike tournament. All the Nike teams go to one tournament, all the Adidas team's go to the other one. We'll be going out to Las Vegas (with the Mustangs squad)."
Don't expect him to be awed by the sights and sounds of the Las Vegas strip.
"I've been going out there every year since I was six, now I'm sixteen," said Henton, who enjoyed a good laugh when told by GSN's Joe Torok, "only two more years until he can hit the tables."
If Henton continues his development and avoids major injury, look for the Spartans to make the move to secure a player who clearly is no gamble and close to a sure thing.
GSN's Joe Torok contributed to this story.
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