Battle-tested Terry Henderson brings experience to young Wolfpack core

A West Virginia transfer who has missed the last two seasons in Raleigh, Henderson is proving his worth with skill and leadership at NC State

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson (3) drives around Georgia Southern guard Ike Smith (3) during the second half of a college men's basketball game on Friday

RALEIGH — For the last two years, Terry Henderson has been a spectator. In 2014-15, he sat out one season after transferring from West Virginia. Last season, he was forced to watch from the bench after suffering ligament damage in his ankle in the season opener.Any questions about that injury affecting him this season have been answered. Henderson has been on fire for the Pack from outside, and hasn’t allowed the letdown from last year linger.”I’m not looking back at all,” Henderson said. “I just want to play my game and act like nothing happened last year. I’m moving forward and ready to play every night.”After having to scrap his plans last year, coach Mark Gottfried was thrilled to get Henderson back on the court to start the year.”When he got to about seven or eight minutes in, I was excited,” Gottfried said after the first exhibition win over Lynn. “I think he’s going to be a really good player for us this year. Terry has a calming effect for our team. He’s older, he’s been through the wars and he’s just such a smart player.”He’s got a great impact on his team because of those things. … Terry’s a good veteran for those guys around him.”It’s been a long wait, but it’s been worth it. Not only for Henderson, but for a young Wolfpack core looking to make noise in the ACC this season.What Henderson provides is a proven guard who has already earned his keep in a Power Five conference. With the Mountaineers, Henderson averaged nearly 10 points per game and shot 43.8 percent during his first two years. He also shot 38.6 percent from behind the arc, adding to the depth from outside the Pack didn’t have last year.Less than a month into his first full season with NC State, Henderson knows his role on the guard-heavy roster.”I have to bring that leadership and energy every night,” Henderson said. “Especially for the young guys, because they’ve never been on this level before. … That’s what I’m here for. Help and do whatever I can for us to win.”Calling a player “experienced” in some circles is the same as calling them “old.” In Henderson’s case, being a 22-year-old player — he’ll turn 23 next March — in college basketball makes him the oldest player on the Woflpack’s roster.Torin Dorn, another transfer guard for the Pack, made the move after his freshman campaign at Charlotte. Along with Henderson, Dorn has helped bring experience despite being just a redshirt sophomore. On a roster filled with teenagers, Dorn said the team resorts to Henderson for wisdom on and off the court.”Terry is like the elder statesman on this team,” Dorn said with a laugh. “He’s been there, done that. He’s wise, and that comes with being through battles and wars. He’s that guy for our team, our senior leader, and he’s good for that. … It’s a huge for a young team.”So what makes the elder statesman so drawn to improving the players around him? Though he hasn’t been with NC State his entire career, he feels he’s played a hand in getting the program to this point.”I feel like I was a key part of recruiting a lot of the freshmen we’ve got now,” Henderson said. “So they’re my young boys. I’ve got to look after them and do what’s best for them.”With a young core in Smith, Kapita and eventually Omer Yurtseven to go along with Dorn and Henderson, the Pack has talent and experience heading into December. If all of those parts can mesh leading up to January, March will be another exciting one in Raleigh.