Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson teased a reporter Monday about being called his team’s senior statesman.
“I’m not the oldest one here,” the fifth-season veteran said.
No, but he is the Bobcat with the longest tenure. That’s amusing to Henderson, who remembers picking up donuts as a rookie each morning for the veterans.
If Henderson bought donuts not from Krispy Kreme, or bought Krispy Kremes from a grocery store rather than the hot-from-the-bakery variety, Gerald Wallace would break into a pseudo rage. It was classic hazing and didn’t reflect the affection Wallace and Stephen Jackson had for Henderson.
When Wallace was traded, the first thing he did was go to Jackson to say watch over Henderson. Now Henderson – a captain last season – watches over others after the Bobcats re-signed him during the offseason.
“Guys like Kemba (Walker) and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) are like brothers – we do everything together,” Henderson said at media day Monday.
Point guard Walker showed up two years ago and small forward Kidd-Gilchrist last season. In a pay-it-forward fashion, Henderson now makes sure those two are progressing.
“When I first got here, he was the guy I got close to immediately. He’s a really outgoing guy,” Walker said. “He’s our leader. He’s there for me, he’s there for everyone else. When something goes down on the court, he’s always the first one there.”
Henderson suffered through a 28-120 record the past two seasons. He chafes at the perceptions that created.
“We’re not losers,” he said. “We have a losing record, but that’s not the character of guys we are. If we’re going to pull ourselves out of that, we need to bring it” this season.
Steve Clifford becomes Henderson’s fourth head coach in five seasons. Henderson started out playing for Larry Brown, then Paul Silas, then one season with Mike Dunlap. Henderson was asked Monday how the coaching churn has affected him.
“It’s the NBA,” he said. “If I got caught up in how many coaches I’ve had, it would catch me up in a whirlwind.”
JEFFERSON ON EWING: New Bobcats center Al Jefferson is one of the NBA’s better low-post scorers and he’s going into his 10th NBA season, but he still expects to learn a lot from former All-Star center Patrick Ewing, now Bobcats associate head coach.
“People forget Patrick made Dwight Howard. Dwight had talent, but Patrick made him,” said Jefferson, referring to Ewing’s time as an Orlando Magic assistant. “I can’t wait to get into (Ewing’s) head.”
BELICHICK REFERENCE: Clifford quoted New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, saying coaches get too much credit or blame for their teams’ perceived “chemistry.”
“Team chemistry has very little to do with coaching. Attitude, competitiveness comes from within” each player, Clifford said.
FIVE ON THE FENCE: Training camp will include five players on nonguaranteed contracts, including power forward Jeff Adrien, a carryover from last season. The others: Troy Daniels, Virginia Commonwealth guard; Abdul Gaddy, Washington guard; Patrick O’Bryant, Bradley center, and James Southerland, Syracuse forward.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129. Twitter: @Rick_Bonnell