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Prospect Profile: John Henson

In 2008, North Carolina celebrated the commitment of 6'11" forward John Henson, an ultra-slender high school junior out of Tampa, Florida.  Weighing in at just 185 pounds, Henson was viewed as having sky-high upside potential and was ranked in the tier just below the likes of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Derrick Favors by most scouting services.  While those players would all come off of the board in the top 5 of the 2010 draft, Henson played three seasons at UNC and made major strides in all areas of his game.  However, the forward has yet to truly harness all of his potential.

You don't need to watch film of Henson to know that the youngster's primary flaw is his lack of bulk.  The big man has put on size since the day that he arrived at Chapel Hill but is still extremely slim at 220 pounds.  Henson turned into a dominating presence on defense for the Tarheels over time, thanks in large part to his freakish 7'6" wingspan.  However, one has to imagine that he will be easily out-muscled early on in his NBA career by opposing 4s and 5s.  One area where he can make an instant impact, however, will be on the perimeter.  The combination of length and quickness that Henson possesses is rare and the big man has shown that he can clog passing lanes with ease.

Even though Henson's strengths skew more towards defense, the 21-year-old will have to work to develop his offensive skill set.  Henson has become more and more comfortable with the ball in his hands over the course of his collegiate career and averaged 13.7 points per contest off of 50% shooting in his final year.  Henson got a great deal of his points off of finesse moves with his back to the basket.  While he doesn't have the strength to bully opponents in the 7'0" range at the next level just yet, smaller defenders will struggle to keep him contained in the post.  One area where he'll surely shine is in the transition game, where his long arms can lead to turnovers and easy baskets going the other way.

Henson also has the potential to become a truly dominant rebounder in the Association.  The forward averaged 10 RPG across his sophomore and junior seasons as he cleaned the glass with his uncanny leaping ability.  Henson's dimensions and vertical leap are actually reminiscent of another talented rebounder – JaVale McGee.  A key difference between the two, however, is overall character and a strong mental aptitude for the game.  Proponents of Henson's potential would argue that, unlike McGee, he has the dedication to become a rebounding force on a nightly basis.  With solid workouts prior to the draft, Henson could easily join teammates Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller in the lottery.

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