A Bigger, Better Henry

With dynamic scorers sprinkled throughout the Ole Miss backcourt, it's easy to understand why these Rebels are being pegged as contenders in the mighty Southeastern Conference.

From last season's conference Freshman of the Year in Terrico White, to pure-shooting point guard Chris Warren, Ole Miss offers enviable depth amongst its guards unmatched by most.

But often overlooked in the headlines is the impact of sophomore guard/forward Terrance Henry, a former consensus top-100 national recruit from Carroll High School in Monroe, La. As a highly-athletic 6-foot-9 wing, Henry is a headache for opposing defenses with three-point shooting ability and his work on the boards.

"Terrance was a very high priority in the recruiting game," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "He's a legitimate 6-foot-9 and has good ball skills. Coming in, we felt his greatest strength was his speed in the open floor. For him, it's simply a matter of getting more time and getting more experience."

This season, Henry has proven his worth as a scorer.

In fact, through the first eight games of the year, Henry has yet to miss a shot. His scorching start has helped Ole Miss develop a deep, 10-man rotation, even after Henry was forced to sit out the first two games with a freak injury to his hand.

"I was really disappointed he wasn't able to play early in the season for us," Kennedy said. "As a result, he kind of lost his way in the rotation because of a freak, off-the-court incident. That opened his eyes. I'm proud that he's now taken himself out of that and into the rotation. That's solely placed on his ability to produce.

"He's playing well. We have a rule that when you get minutes, be productive. Get more minutes. He's taking advantage of that."

Two days before the team's season opener, the lanky sophomore was taking an ordinary walk on campus. However, Henry suffered an awkward stumble down a flight of stairs, leading to a noticeable gash on his hand.

"I was being clumsy, and the first game was like the next day," Henry said of the injury. "It was really frustrating. Those first couple of game felt kind of funny. I wasn't 100 percent and I played like five or six minutes and didn't feel real good. But I know it was just because of my hand. When I got back, I knew I was going to do what I had to do to play."

To allow his injury to heal, Henry sat out the first two games of the season. But showing no ill-effects from the time off, Henry quickly established himself on the floor. He followed with 10-for-10 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range.

"He works hard. That's one guy on our team that's going to give it his all every day," said sophomore forward Murphy Holloway of Henry. "He stays after practice to work on his jump shot, mid-range and three-point. He doesn't show it often, but he's very athletic. He now sees what it takes to be a good player in the SEC."

Despite sizeable playing time (31 game appearances) due to injuries in his true freshman season a year ago, Henry held meager averages of 3.6 points per game and 4.2 rebounds. With a skinny frame of only 185 pounds, he was unable to handle the everyday grind of league action against bigger bodies in the post.

Kennedy said the physical nature of the SEC took a toll on Henry.

"I think he lost his confidence and lost his way a little bit," said Kennedy. "Physically, he wasn't nearly as prepared as he thought he was. He's just in a much better rhythm. He's always been a good shooter. He's just getting more comfortable."

In the offseason, Henry added 20 much-needed pounds. He ate as many as six meals a day, which helped add another piece to a still-developing four-man frontcourt of Holloway, freshman Reginald Buckner and senior DeAundre Cranston.

"I learned a lot from my whole freshman year," he said. "First, I had to gain some weight. I did, and I can tell a difference. It's helped a lot. I'm trying to put on another 15 pounds next year. I'm naturally skinny. In the offseason, I was taking in a bunch of calories. I felt full all the time, but I had to keep eating."

And it's paying off.

With the help of Henry, Ole Miss has raced out to a 7-1 record and looks to make some serious noise after a seven-year NCAA Tournament drought.

Though surprising to some, the improvement of Henry isn't a mystery to Kennedy.

"First and foremost, he's got a better understanding. He's got a greater sense of urgency," said Kennedy. "I think he understands minutes are valuable now. When he gets into the game, he's been scoring. With scoring, you'd like for it not to affect other parts of your game. But realistically, it does a lot of times – especially for younger guys. And he's shot the ball well. He's playing with more confidence."

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