Friday was quite the emotional roller coaster for the NC State men’s basketball program. The happiness that came with the news that head coach Mark Gottfried’s contract had been extended gave way to disappointment, as the Wolfpack not only lost decisively to William & Mary but lost a key contributor as well.
Guard Terry Henderson, who sat out last season after transferring in from West Virginia, suffered an ankle injury in the loss that is expected to sideline him anywhere from six to eight weeks. X-rays and an MRI revealed torn ligaments in Henderson’s right ankle, with the injury occurring during the first half of NC State’s 85-68 loss to the Tribe in Raleigh.
With Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner being the two biggest losses from last year’s Sweet 16 team, Henderson was expected to have an immediate impact for the Wolfpack this season. Now with the 6-foot-5 off guard sidelined for a timeframe that could reach the start of conference play, NC State will have to find other answers on the perimeter.
“Obviously, this is a big blow to Terry and to our team,” Gottfried said in the release. “I feel badly for Terry. He worked extremely hard to get ready for this year. Our team has to adjust and we will need some young players to step up.”
Among those who will need to step forward for NC State are sophomore Caleb Martin and freshman Maverick Rowan. Martin was part of the starting lineup Friday night and he was NC State’s most productive offensive player, scoring a game-high 21 points and shooting 5-for-10 from three. Rowan played 34 minutes against William & Mary, absorbing many of the minutes that became available when Henderson left the game, finishing with 16 points but shooting just 1-for-8 from three.
Cody Martin played 16 minutes off the bench but failed to score, and Cat Barber’s off night from the field (4-for-16 FG, 11 points, six assists) didn’t help matters as NC State struggled on both ends of the floor against William & Mary.
While the offseason for college basketball programs is very much about helping individual players improve their skill sets with an eye towards the upcoming season, it’s also about improving teamwork and leadership traits. In recent years more teams have gone to some form of military-influenced training to help in those areas, and there have been positive results. VCU and Utah are among those who have used such methods to help them on the court, and NC State has taken a similar path.
Mark Gottfried’s team, coming off of a Sweet 16 appearance, participated in The Program, a two-day session led by instructors and United States Marine Corps veterans Jake MacDonald and Jamie Slife with an eye towards improving in areas such as teamwork, leadership and communication. Those aspects will be important for a team that lost three of its top four scorers from a season ago in Trevor Lacey, Ralston Turner and Kyle Washington.
Above is a short video of the team’s experience in The Program, with multiple players having to step forward in leadership roles. Guards Cat Barber and Terry Henderson and big men Abdul-Malik Abu and BeeJay Anya were among those entrusted with the task of leading certain drills, and at the end of the camp Caleb Martin received the Spartan Warrior t-shirt that all participants strive to earn.
The Wolfpack have the talent to make yet another NCAA tournament appearance under Gottfried, but in an ACC that will be tougher than it was a season ago the intangibles improved upon in The Program could prove to be highly valuable during the season.
Video credit: NC State Athletics
The Raleigh, North Carolina native is returning home.
West Virginia transfer guard Terry Henderson has committed to N.C. State, according to Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports.com, who reported the news on Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-4 guard had cut his list to seven — Cincinnati, Maryland, N.C. State, Richmond, Rutgers, UCLA and Wake Forest — in late May, and scheduled visits to Maryland, UCLA and Wake Forest. At Maryland, he was courted by fellow Raleigh native, Dez Wells.
Henderson transferred following his sophomore season, and was the third leading scorer for the Mountaineers at 11.2 points per game. He was the second West Virginia guard to leave the program behind second-leading scorer Eron Harris. Earlier this month, Harris enrolled at Michigan State.
The 6-foot-4 Henderson will sit out next season, due to NCAA transfer rules and will have two remaining years of eligibility starting in the 2015-2016 season.