RALEIGH The student-athlete carousel continued to spin in the past week for the Wolfpack as Maverick Rowan announced he would exit the program and Al Freeman, a Baylor graduate, is transferring into NC State.First-year coach Kevin Keatts has plugged holes as they come open, but there’s still one void the Wolfpack is hoping to fill this offseason. That void, of course, is the pending extra year of eligibility for shooting guard Terry Henderson.The Raleigh native requested an extra year of availability due to a season-ending knee injury he suffered seven minutes into his first competitive season with NC State. Being granted that extra season would be a huge addition for a program in transition under Keatts.One of the leaders of a downtrodden NC State team last year, Henderson was still the glue as a vocal leader for the young team. Granted, the 2016-17 results also sealed Mark Gottfried’s firing, but Abdul-Malik Abu said Henderson was far from the reason for that lack of success.”Man, I’m hoping we get my man T back,” Abu said of Henderson during Keatts’ introductory press conference. “We’re praying we get him back. He’s an experienced guy. I feel like we have the pieces to do what we need to do. … We just need him to get there.”The loss of Rowan leaves a glaring hole from behind the arc. Not only was Rowan the team’s third-leading scorer with 12 points per game, but he also ranked second on the team in three-point percentage (36.1) last season.So who was the one player who was ahead of Rowan in both of those departments? Terry Henderson.Henderson had career-highs in points (13.8), three-point shooting percentage (38.4) and made 3-pointers (78). Prior to last season, he had never made more than 50 treys in a year, but blossomed in Gottfried’s system when he was finally healthy enough to play.Why would Henderson’s loss be so debilitating for Keatts? Well, let’s just say his entire offense thrives off having a multitude of shooters and athletic players in the fold. How athletic? Keatts made that pretty obvious from day one.”We’re going to pride ourselves on being the best conditioned team in the country,” Keatts said.Not the best conditioned team in a loaded state. Not the best conditioned team in the ACC, the best conference in college basketball. That’s not good enough. Keatts intends on being the best conditioned team in the entire NCAA.Henderson checks off both boxes on Keatts’ checklist. After breaking a school record at UNCW last year with 336 3-pointers made, Henderson gives Keatts a great outside shooter. With a slender frame and ability to create his own shot and defend, he’s the exact athlete Keatts needs, too.Sure, the addition of Freeman gives the Wolfpack outside shooting with a player who shot 38.9 percent from behind the arc last season. But he attempted more than five 3-pointers only five times compared to 19 such games for Henderson, despite Freeman’s season last three games longer in the NCAA Tournament.So while there’s room for NC State fans to rejoice with the addition of Freeman and freshman commit Lavar Batts, there’s still a huge question mark surrounding the program. Until the NCAA announces whether or not Henderson can play, Keatts will have to simply hope that Henderson will be a key piece to next year’s puzzle.
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