Corey Henson remembers the 2010-11 season like it was yesterday, watching almost in awe as the likes of Jerami Grant, Mikael Hopkins and James Robinson led DeMatha to its third straight (and likely final, due to the new format) City Title.
Now as Henson enters his senior campaign with the Stags as one of two four-year varsity players, he’s that guy looked upon to lead DeMatha. Only, Henson is charged with a much different task: restoring order. Doomed three times by buzzer beaters, the Stags suffered their second-ever losing season at 14-16 and first since 2002-03.
One step in the right direction came Tuesday, when DeMatha held off St. John’s for a 73-67 win in The Rock Summer League championship at High Point behind a balanced effort.
“Having guys in front of me like James and Jerami to calm us down was nice. They were so poised in any situation and I admired their work ethic,” Henson said. “Now being that guy, it’s kind of weird but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”
To prepare himself, Henson has focused on expanding his skillset beyond his impressive shooting ability. As the team’s top returning scorer, Henson averaged 10.7 points last season while draining 48 three-pointers.
In The Rock and BSN summer leagues, Henson displayed improved ball skills while attacking the basket. Along with sophomore Alani Moore and junior Terrell Allen, Henson will be one of the primary ballhandlers for the Stags. As a result, he’s focused on pick-and-roll situations in his training to better create space for his shot and open opportunities for teammates.
In competing with D.C. Assault on the AAU circuit, Henson has earned offers from Central Connecticut, Mount St. Mary’s, Navy and Robert Morris. Schools such as Boston University, Bucknell, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and William & Mary have also shown interest in Henson, who displays a strong IQ on and off the court.
“He’s ready to have a great season,” Stags Coach Mike Jones said. “He’s shot well, he’s leading by example and he’s shown he can play point guard when we need him.”
Gone are All-Met center BeeJay Anya (N.C. State) and starting guard Jairus Lyles (VCU). In turn, having another playmaker in Henson will be key for a DeMatha squad that has depth and appears ready to spread the offensive wealth.
Sophomore Joe Hampton, who has garnered interest from Maryland, played strong inside during Tuesday’s title win at The Rock while displaying a soft touch outside the paint. So did junior forward Jaelin Grant, whose long arms make him a shotblocking presence.
“As a team, we have to be better defensively because BeeJay erased a lot of our mistakes on defense,” Henson said. “That puts more pressure on all of us but we just have to come together and play like we know how to play.”