Louisville turns to walk-on Tim Henderson in Final Four

April 6, 2013

Tim Henderson, seen here second from left cheering on the bench during the Elite Eight victory over Duke, has been forced into action. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Walk-on Tim Henderson has seen spare court time for Louisville in his junior season. The Louisville native hasn’t played more than seven minutes in any tournament game, logging just 63 total minutes for the entire season before Saturday.

But in the first half of a national semifinal against Wichita State — the Shockers lead, 26-25 at the break — Coach Rick Pitino has trusted the 6-foot-2 guard to jump into the lineup for some early meaningful minutes, in place of an injured Kevin Ware. He’s spelled Russ Smith and Peyton Siva in the back court.

“Tim Henderson, a lot of people talk about he’s a walk‑on, everything, but he’s been guarding Russ Smith the whole year,” Siva said this week. “I feel like he can come in and spell anybody. If you guard Russ Smith the whole year, you can pretty much guard anybody, especially in practice.”

Henderson has 16 points this season and 47 points in his career, but here in the national spotlight, he has an unlikely opportunity. In limited first-half action, he missed a three pointer and grabbed a rebound for Louisville, which trailed 26-25 at intermission.

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Cindy Boren | April 6, 2013