Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pull-up jumper makes Henderson special

Gerald Henderson's acrobatic dunks and soaring blocked shots are what excite fans.

But his transition from a remarkable athlete to an outstanding basketball player wasn't complete until he mastered the pull-up jump shot. Henderson is a rare college player who can take two dribbles, stop and swish a shot from 15 to 17 feet.

Tuesday, he did it twice in 53 seconds in the second half as Duke overcame a six-point deficit to beat N.C. State 73-56. The junior forward is making a case as the ACC's best player.

Some are withholding judgment. N.C. State's Courtney Fells guarded Henderson on Wednesday and said Henderson is playing great, but said Wake Forest's Jeff Teague is even better right now.

Henderson and Teague can settle that issue on the court Wednesday in Winston-Salem. But regardless of how that turns out, a Duke team that's already masterful on defense has an element on offense that few opponents can match in Henderson's sweet pull-up jumper.

-- Ken Tysiac