McD: John Henson Spotlight

CORAL GABLES, Fla. --- Two years ago not many people would have projected John Henson as a future McDonald's All-American, but the 6-foot-10 senior hit a major growth spurt and put in the work to become one of the nation's elite prospects and earn an invite to Wednesday night's prestigious game.

"I think working hard work and the growth spurt of course and doing my thing on the court - that's the reasons that helped me take it to the next level," Henson said.

After three season of high school ball in Texas, Henson transferred to Tampa (Fla.) Sickles, where he averaged 17.7 points, 12.4 rebounds and just over six blocks.

"It went well," he said of his senior season. "It was one of the easiest moves I've ever made. They took me in as one of their own and it was nice."

"I wouldn't say I played my greatest because it's hard coming into a new system and playing like that," he continued. "I think what I did overall was pretty good.

Through two days of practice at the McDonald's All-American festivities, the opposing bigs on the West team have felt Henson's presence. To go with his size, Henson's length helps make him a dominant force defensively.

Henson is on the same team as North Carolina signees David Wear and Travis Wear, as well as Rendardo Sidney, Wally Judge and Keith Gallon, so he's been challenged in practice. Thus far he's been happy with his effort.

"It's been good playing against the better competition," Henson said. "Yesterday I was getting adjusted to it, but today I played a little better. It's been fun playing with these guys. They can do some things."

"I just try to do whatever and be versatile, whether it's defending ‘Tiny' [Gallon], who is a big dude, or on the perimeter locking down and getting a steal. I try to do whatever they need me to do."

As far as how he stacks up with the other prospects here, Henson thinks he's at the top.

"I think I'm in the upper echelon," Henson said. "I could be better and I need to get stronger and that's probably the biggest thing for me and hopefully I'll play well on Wednesday."

"I'm trying to win, first of all, then I'm trying to show my stuff to the world because I've never been on national TV, so that's going to be fun."

While in Miami, Henson has spent some time with three of his future teammate. Henson watched North Carolina's Elite Eight game against Oklahoma with his future teammates and a number of the other players, including OU signees Tommy Mason-Griffin and Keith Gallon.

"I watched them," he said. "[The Oklahoma signees] were talking a little mess, but it quieted down when we got up by 20," Henson said. "Actually they were sitting on the couch and they left when they got down by 20."

Henson is eager to don the Carolina Blue and make a big impact in his first season in Chapel Hill.

"I think I have a great opportunity because they are losing a lot of people and we have to contribute," Henson said of his incoming freshman class. "Whether it's starting or coming off the bench and hopefully I play a lot."

John Henson Profile

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