With a heart condition ending the career of freshman guard D.J. Bowles, Wichita State was in a position where they needed to add a guard to the program in their 2014 recruiting class. On Sunday the Shockers landed a verbal commitment from 6-foot-3 shooting guard Corey Henderson Jr., who made his decision after officially visiting the Missouri Valley Conference school this weekend.
Henderson is Wichita State’s third commitment in the 2014 class, as he joins 6-foot-7 small forward Zach Brown and 6-foot-6 forward Rashard Kelly. Henderson’s a native of Dallas, where he’s picked up experience at both guard positions playing for his father at the Episcopal School.
Henderson said his son can play both guard positions, although point guard is his main job at Episcopal. He gets most of his points driving to the basket and on mid-range shots. When open, he makes spot-up three-pointers, his father said.
“He’s learned to be more aggressive attacking the basket,” Corey Henderson Sr. said. “They’re getting a really heady player. Great court vision. High IQ. He loves having that ball in his hands.”
When he arrives on campus next year Henderson Jr. will join a backcourt that includes current junior Tekele Cotton, sophomores Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet and freshman Rian Holland. If the small forward position is included the Shockers will lose two contributors after this season in Cleanthony Early and Nick Wiggins, with Early being a preseason favorite for MVC Player of the Year honors.
Here are a few highlights of the versatile guard in action.
Many programs across the country have unveiled new courts this offseason, with the designs ranging from simple to in some cases outrageous. SMU has joined the ranks, unveiling a new court that coincides with the renovation of Moody Coliseum that greatly improves the home of SMU basketball.
The court is simple to say the least, with the SMU logo across mid-court, the American logos just inside of the three-point line at each end of the floor and the athletic department’s web address on the sideline. But given their current run of luck on the recruiting trail, most recently landing one of the nation’s best point guards in Emmanuel Mudiay, the question for head coach Larry Brown’s program is whether or not the floor will serve as the program’s canvas for a resurgence.
The Mustangs endured their fair share of struggles last season, finishing with a 15-17 overall record and going 5-11 in Conference USA play. But that was an undermanned roster, led by guard Nick Russell (14.0 ppg, 4.3 apg) and forward Jalen Jones (14.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg). In addition to those two, the 2013-14 campaign brings significant help in the form of three transfers (Nic Moore, Crandall Head and Markus Kennedy) and a respected recruiting haul headlined by McDonald’s All-American Keith Frazier.
The competition in conference play will be tougher, as programs like Louisville, UConn and Cincinnati are now on the schedule, but SMU has the talent needed to place a better product on the Moody Coliseum floor. SMU hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1993, so predictions of immediate greatness wouldn’t be the way to go.
But if the Mustangs have their way, the product on the court will make up for the lack of pizazz in the design.