John Henson's Offensive Development

        The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year John Henson is getting a little bit more offensive this season. Not taking away any of his defensive prowess as Henson is the leading rebounder (10.1 per game) and shot blocker (3.0) in the ACC this season, but surprisingly, his 14.7 points per game are second to only Harrison Barnes on the team and rank 7th in the conference. Not only is he finding more shots in the rhythm of the offense, but he has actually made himself quite the versatile scorer, feeling more comfortable stepping out away from the basket and hitting jumpers from 10-20 feet as well as putting home dunks and lay-ins around the rim.

        As a junior, Henson has seen his offensive rating climb from a 97.6 to a stellar 112.7, taking about two more shots per 100 possessions and connecting at a higher rate (55.3 true shooting percentage versus sophomore year's 50.2 mark). His vastly improved mid-range game and face-up jumper, which were virtually non-existent last season now make him a much more dangerous threat in addition to his post repertoire; last season, 20 percent of all Henson's field-goal attempts were mid-range jumpers from 10-20 feet out and he connected on just 27 percent of those attempts. This year, 35 percent of his shots are from this range and he is converting 46 percent of them. Similarly, Henson's jump shot accuracy is improved as the lanky forward moves closer to the basket in the 5-9 foot range as well (48.6 percent up from 35.7 percent).

        The one area of concern that has plagued scouts since Henson has stepped onto campus at Chapel Hill has been his lack of weight/strength; standing 6'11" with a freakishly long wingspan, he weighs in at just 220 pounds, which hurts him in finishing shots around the rim with contact, but also defensively in terms of getting out-muscled when fighting for positioning. But with the overall jump in development of his offensive game, there is a lot to like about Henson given his physical attributes and athleticism, defensive prowess and an offensive arsenal that continues to improve.

By President Corey Ruff - 1 - 17 - 12