Henderson's athleticism gives him a boost
Duke shooting guard Gerald Henderson was among several players who visited the Bulls at the Berto Center on Monday as the team hosts its pre-draft workouts. Henderson (6-5/210), who spent three years in Durham, competed against the likes of Arizona’s Chase Budinger and Virginia Tech’s A.D. Vassallo as Chicago prepares for the June 25 NBA Draft.
Regarded as one of the draft’s most athletic players, Henderson led the Blue Devils in scoring (16.5 ppg) as a junior and was named to the ACC’s first-team. Mock drafts to date project him being selected in the 11-14 range of the first round.
Bulls.com: How did you feel your workout went?
Gerald Henderson: It was great. There was a lot of competition, and when you come into these workouts, you look forward to that. I thought everyone did pretty well. It was a tough workout, and it was one of those things where you’ve just got to go out and give it your full effort.
Bulls.com: You spent a lot of the workout going up against Arizona guard/forward Chase Budinger, who has a bit of a size advantage. What was that matchup like?
Henderson: I loved it. Chase and I have played against each other since back in high school. So it’s always good to go up against him and see how his game has changed, along with how mine has changed. He’s a heck of an athlete, so to test myself against someone with the same athleticism I have is nothing but a good thing.
Bulls.com: Is there anything you’re trying to focus on during these workouts to showcase your strengths?
Henderson: Not really. I’ve worked hard to get to this point and I’ve tried to become a very versatile player. When I go out there, I just go through the drills or whatever they have us doing and show them I what I can do. I try to play as hard as I can.
Bulls.com: What do you know about the current Bulls team and how would you fit in?
Henderson: They made a great run in the playoffs this year, even if it meant losing in the first round. They’ve got a well-rounded team with a lot of talented guards. And I love their coach. Vinny’s a great guy and a great coach and I’d love to play here for sure.
Bulls.com: What are your thoughts on Head Coach Vinny Del Negro and Gar Forman now that you’ve interacted with them?
Henderson: I got to talk to them a few weeks ago at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and it’s a good group here. We had a good meeting and talked about a lot of different things and I thought it went really well.
Bulls.com: Your agent is former Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong, who works for Arn Tellem’s agency and also represents Derrick Rose. What kind advice has B.J. given you?
Henderson: B.J.’s my guy. I talked to him a lot before I came in here and he was excited about me working out for his old team. He’s been great at pushing me to stay in the best shape possible. I feel my skills are in a good place but if I can be in great shape and get through these workouts and show my strength and endurance, I’ll have the best chance at doing well.
Bulls.com: What factors led to your decision to leave Duke early?
Henderson: I felt like I was ready to go to the next level. I had a good career at Duke, but it’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA. So when that opportunity presented itself, it was too hard to say no.
Bulls.com: How did playing for Mike Krzyzewski prepare you for taking this step?
Henderson: He was great during my time at Duke, always helping me become a more consistent player, along with developing a healthy confidence and knowing that I belong at this level. And now during this process with the workouts and interviews, he knows a lot of people so I’m able to get some good feedback on how I’m doing. The whole coaching staff has helped me in that area, and I thank them for that.
Bulls.com: North Carolina guard Wayne Ellington is a close friend of yours from high school who is also about to enter the NBA. How often do you two talk?
Henderson: I talk to him every day. Every day. He signed with Arn Tellem as well and we’ve both spent time in L.A. working out. He’s doing well and he’s working really hard. It’s good to be going through a process like this with someone like him.
Bulls.com: How did your friendship with Wayne affect the Duke-North Carolina rivalry?
Henderson: Not at all. It’s a game you play twice a year and then you go on with your season. I feel like since we’ve been down at school and around each other that if anything, our friendship has gotten even better.
Bulls.com: Your father, Gerald Sr., had a 13-year career in the NBA from 1979 to 1992 with a half dozen teams. How has he helped you prepare for the draft?
Henderson: He tells me a lot of the same things as so many of the other guys, like B.J. and DeMarcus [Nelson], and that’s just to be in the best shape that I can. I’m working on my skills—my ballhandling and my shooting—every day. But I also need to be in great shape so I’m able to get up and down the court and make those other things a little easier.