By Matt Rochinski and Brian Verdi
June 25, 2009
The Charlotte Bobcats tonight selected Gerald Henderson with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft. The team also selected Derrick Brown and Robert Vaden with the 40th and 54th overall picks in the second round. The team later traded the draft rights to Robert Vaden to Oklahoma City in exchange for cash considerations.
An early entry candidate for the 2009 NBA Draft, Henderson (6-4, 215-pound, guard) was a Wooden Award All-America selection and earned First Team All-ACC honors as a junior. He started 79 of 103 games played at Duke University and ranks 20th all-time with 69 total blocks and 39th all-time in scoring with 1,262 points. Henderson also was selected Third Team All-America by the Associated Press.
Last season at Duke, he started 36 of 37 games played with averages of 16.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists. He reached double-figure scoring 31-times, including 10 games with 20-or-more points. On Feb. 22 against ACC rival Wake Forest, Henderson scored a career-high 35 points on 11-15 shooting from the field and 12-14 from the free-throw line.
Brown (6-8, 227-pound, forward) who was also an early entry candidate for the 2009 NBA Draft, earned Second Team All-Atlantic 10 honors and First Team NABC All-District honors as a junior. He currently ranks 36th on Xavierís all-time scoring list 1,096 career points. Last season, Brown averaged 13.7 points and 6.1 rebounds, while connecting on .504 percent of his shot attempts from the field and .433 percent from three-point range.
Brown started all 35 games last season for Xavier and reached double-figure scoring 27 times, including four double-doubles. He scored a career-high 23 points twice, first against Miami of Ohio on Nov. 29 and again on Jan. 31 against Massachusetts.
(On if Gerald Henderson and Terrence Williams were the two players they wanted at 12)
Pretty much. We had our eye on Terrence Williams because of what he can provide for us in terms of his athleticism, but Henderson was right up there. I think we both were very happy either way. We had a lot of conversation in terms of trading down and doing a lot of other different things. As Coach (Brown) said, we identified (two-guard) as a need Ė and obviously, a power forward - or someone who can support what Raja Bell provides for us. He was injured quite a bit last year down the stretch and I think that really prohibited us from making that strong push for the playoffs. We felt like if we could secure that a little bit, it would put us in a better position to try to finish up the season. If it was Terrence Williams or Gerald Henderson, I think either one of those guys would have fit in perfectly for what we were looking at.
(On trading down)
If you trade down, you trade down to take someone that is still out there on the table. We felt like the best quality players were going to be at the top of the draft as opposed to being at the bottom of the draft, so why not take our chances early? And if we get what we want, then why would we look at anything on the bottom part of the draft? If we felt like we couldnít get what our needs were, then we would have considered trading down and seeing what kind of other options we would have at other positions. But, we got what we wanted, and I donít anticipate us doing anything other than trying to focus on what we are going to get at 40 and 54 and seeing how we can continue to better this team.
(On if Gerald Henderson and Terrence Williams were both off the board at 12)
We probably would have traded down.
(On Jordan and Brown both having University of North Carolina backgrounds)
Sometimes, it is hard to put those types of feelings away. It is just something about our blood that makes it very difficult to choose a Duke player, but this is a business, and sometimes we need to supercede some of the feelings that we may have. The thing that we saw in Henderson was that he is a very capable player that provided us with a lot of different opportunities, and once again, he supported us from the two-guard position with Bell dealing with a bunch of injuries last year. The upside is unknown, which is the beauty of what we talked about. He has a very, very strong upside to him, and we are willing to take that gamble right now, even though he is a Duke fan.
(On what he likes most about Gerald Henderson)
I think I like his physical capabilities, his eagerness to listen to what Coach is saying and go out there and try to learn from him, and fit within the framework of what we are trying to do as a team. I think a good example of that was last year in the NCAA, a lot of the knock on him was that he couldnít go left. The next thing you know, he started working on trying to go left and making big shots. To hear that it is a negative and to try to work on his game, change it, and implement it into the way that he plays says a lot about the character of that individual and his work ethic. If Coach says he has weaknesses left and right, you can believe that this kid is going to get in the gym and work on them and try to improve his game. That, to me, is a plus.
(On playing against Gerald Hendersonís father, Gerald Henderson, Sr.)
I didnít really play against his father, he was scared to guard me. We can go back and look at the film, but there were very few times that I had a chance to play against his father. His father was a gritty, gritty type of player on the Celtics and a lot of other teams that he played with. He wanted to improve and he wanted to make an impact on the basketball court, and you can see that impact on his son. He went through a great program. Granted, it is very tough for us to say that Duke is a great program, but we will say that. He understands the coaching aspect. (Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski) does a great job with his players. He is able to be coached, which means a lot to us. I feel like Larry (Brown) has done a good job in trying to expand the knowledge and the fundamentals of the players we have. I think we feel very proud about our choice, I think itís going to help our team. I donít think we lost anything with this selection for our team and I think it is only going to enhance our future for this basketball team.
(On Gerald Henderson)
He is a very independent kid, he is a very mature kid. We did our interviews with him and Coach (Brown) would probably say that this kid was pretty mature. He came from a good background and a good family, so we feel very promising about this kid.
(On the need of adding a power forward)
I think Derrick Brown is going to be a guy that can be versatile enough with our system as he gets stronger to maybe play some of that position. Probably not early, but you also have to remember that we have free agency around the corner, so we can address a need that way as well. I think it was a good draft. The scouts did an excellent job. Coach Brown, Michael Jordan, and all of the guys in there tried to make this team the best we could possibly make it. It was a fun process.
(On summer leagues)
Larry and I spoke earlier, and we are in the process of trying to find some relief situations for all of our guys that need to get on the court this summer. We are going to figure out in these next couple of days what is best for each individual.
(On a possible free agent camp)
There is nothing in stone right now, but we are probably open to a lot of scenarios like that. As long as we are in the gym we are okay if we can help these kids improve.
(On the Gerald Henderson selection)
Weíre real happy with the pick, even though Michael (Jordan) and I had a hard time drafting a ďDookie.Ē Heís a terrific kid, heís a terrific athlete, and he has a big upside. Weíre trying to build and get better, get athletic kids, kids with good character, and kids that want to get better and have a chance to improve. Last year, we had a terrific pick at 9 in D.J. (Augustin) and we made some moves that I think really, really helped our team. I think this is a move in the right direction. We have a two-guard in Raja Bell that has played a long time, and when he got hurt, we really didnít have anybody to come in and play behind him. I think it will be a good situation for Gerald to learn from Raja and not have pressure on him right away, so itís a good opportunity in that regard.
(On Gerald Hendersonís potential)
I hate to use the word potential, but I think he has a big upside. Heís really athletic and kids that are athletes, have a good work ethic, and want to get better, have a real good chance. He has a position Ė heís a legitimate two-guard with size. We had trouble last year when the ball got on the floor, with loose balls and things like that and I think with his athleticism, he can do that. I think he can cover, he can take it to the basket and get fouled, and he got better every year, so I think heís going to continue to improve.
(On the Duke Ė North Carolina rivalry)
This is the Charlotte Bobcats. We represent everybody in this area. That is the one neat thing about being a professional team in North Carolina Ė they love basketball. The fact that Gerald (Henderson) played at Duke means that people can follow him here and follow his career. If he helps us win, it doesnít matter what college jersey he wore. Michael (Jordan) and I have a lot of respect for Coach (Krzyzewski) and what he does and what he brings. We got a good player. This kid is going to help us win. We just have to do a good job of coaching him up.
(On Derrick Brown)
Our scouts had him 20th on our board. We brought him back for a second workout so Rod (Higgins) and Michael (Jordan) could see him again. We went into the draft hoping to get a 2, a 2/3, or a 3 man. Now, we have a young backup three. Heís long, he can handle it, and he can shoot it a little bit. We got two character kids. It is almost like last year. When we tested out the rookies D.J. (Augustin) and Alexis (Ajinca) last year, they were really high, top kids. It is keeping with what we were hoping for. We had no idea to expect him to be there.
(On trading the 54th overall pick)
We donít have a lot of openings. There are some kids that might not be drafted that we all kind of liked. We were talking about maybe sending somebody at 54 overseas, and then we saw four or five names of kids that we kind of liked, so it worked out.
(On what players will be participating in summer workouts)
Alexis (Ajinca) has France and D.J. (Augustin) has the select team. A lot of teams are cutting back. New Jersey and Philadelphia are sharing a team. Atlanta is not having a team. We wouldnít want to send Gerald (Henderson) to a team that has two or three two-guards that they want to develop, but we are going to try to find a team that has a need. We have enough friends in the league that would be there. I think we have some options.
(On his draft analysis)
This draft kind of addressed some real needs of our team. You always go in hoping to get the best players and then address needs as well, but I think we were all surprised with the way it played out. We had talked about moving back and getting two picks, but it turned out that we addressed some needs with real quality kids from good programs. I think we are very lucky in that regard.
(On becoming a member of the Bobcats)
Iím really excited; itís going to be great. Iím looking forward to getting there with the guys and just starting to work. Having Coach Brown and Michael Jordan will be a great influence on my career.
(On the city of Charlotte)
Charlotte is a great place and I loved everything about the city when I came. The coaching staff was great and all the guys over there are great. As different guys started to get picked, it started to shaping up that I would come here and it ended up working out like that.
(On what he was told after his two workouts with the Bobcats about the possibility of being drafted by Charlotte)
They told me they were very interested in me, but they thought that I might not have been there at their pick. It ended up that I was and I am very excited that they picked me.
(On Larry Brownís and Michael Jordanís University of North Carolina background)
They are my bosses now and I am going to have to put up with them. It will be fun and I know Iíll be hearing all of the Tar Heel stuff every day, which is very unfortunate, but it all comes with it.
(On if playing behind Raja Bell next season will help him in the long run)
Absolutely. Raja has been a great pro and he has established himself in the league and is well respected. Iím really looking forward to being his teammate.
(On his potential)
I think that with my game, there are so many things that I can work on. There are so many things that I am willing to work on, and I think that is the biggest thing. I know I am going to put the work in and I know I am going to be a professional about everything I do.
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