Cats Captains Ready to Lead

By Matt Rochinski
October 3, 2012
bobcats.com

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Gerald Henderson knows this isn’t a situation many NBA players entering their fourth year in the league are in. But that does not mean he’s not ready for it.

A few weeks ago, Bobcats Head Coach Mike Dunlap came to Henderson and veteran Matt Carroll and asked them if they wanted to be the Cats captains for 2012-13. He didn’t tell them they were – he asked if they wanted to. It was an important distinction for Henderson.

“It was something where he wanted to but wanted me to want to take it on,” Henderson explained after practice at Kimmel Arena on October 3, 2012. “I think it was a good choice with me and Matt, and I’m ready for it. I think it’s something you earn. I don’t really like being named captain – I like the fact that I’ve earned it and know that I can show it.”

Prior to Training Camp, Dunlap made it official, naming Carroll and Henderson team captains for the upcoming season. With a mix of incoming veterans and new youngsters, added to what already is the NBA’s youngest core, the selection of Carroll and Henderson seems ideal as the Bobcats work to come together this season and beyond.

“It’s a heck of an honor. Not many guys in their fourth year in have been named captain of an NBA team, but it shows the hard work that was put in through the summer working with Coach Dunlap, and he recognized that,” Carroll said of Henderson. “I think he sees the potential in Gerald, and that he can be the best player on this team and the future of this organization.”

Still, the focus is not just on the future – it’s about getting tougher, faster and stronger this season as well. There’s no doubt everyone in the organization is ready to take the next step, and on the court, the Bobcats might have the perfect vet to stand by their side as they work to get there.

“Matt Carroll is the best teammate I’ve ever had,” Henderson said emphatically. “He is just a standup guy. I knew him before I came to the Bobcats because he’s from the Philadelphia area, and he’s just a special guy. Obviously he can shoot and his game is really good, but he’s just a great teammate. He’s always positive. One of the biggest things to me is that we play the same position, but he’s always there to encourage me. He’s got my back. He’s got our back and is just a great guy.”

While taking on the role of captain is an honor for Carroll as he enters his 10th year in the NBA, he’s not about to let this change who he is or how he approaches the game – but he realizes he might have to get a little louder.

“I’m going to be who I have been my whole career. I’m going to continue to lead by example, but I think this gives me more of a voice,” said Carroll. “As a captain, you have to step up and say more verbally, but as far as the other things, I’m going to lead by example through hard work and show the young guys what I’ve done to get to my 10th year.”

Henderson realizes that he too needs to have more of a voice. He’s seen his game evolve on the court with the Bobcats over the past three seasons, and while his personal evolution will continue, he intends for his commitment to his teammates to grow and strengthen as well.

“When you’re a real young guy, you’re worried more about what you’re doing, and you should be. But this is my fourth year now, and I know that if I can help other guys out, it will help me take on the role that I need to,” said Henderson. “I want to take ownership of this team. This is a new year for us with a brand new team. I’m looking to make strides myself, and obviously our team is looking to make huge strides. I’m looking forward to a lot of different things.”

Change around the organization was evident in the offseason. We’ve got a new look. We’ve got a new coach. We’ve got two new rookies in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor. We’ve got three new veterans in Ben Gordon, Brendan Haywood and Ramon Sessions. And now, we’ve got two new captains committed to helping make the Bobcats tougher, faster and stronger this season.

“It’s who we are,” said Carroll. “I think we’re tougher at every position and as a team in general. I think we’re faster because we have a lot of young legs that can run up and down the court. I think we’re stronger because guys have put in a lot of hard work – being in the weight room all summer and putting in the time on the court. We’re pounding the hardwood to be a lot tougher, faster and stronger this season.”