Duke

Henderson working hard

Even as Gerald Henderson waits for his name to get called during Thursday's NBA draft, it could be the Duke standout's easiest day since he declared his plans to go pro April 25.

At least he won't have to answer any more questions about where he may end up or what he thinks of his draft stock.

"You want to know where you're going to end up, you want to know what the [general managers] are talking about," Henderson said. "It takes a toll on you, because you are anticipating one day."

Heading into this week, Henderson has faced a barrage of questions from NBA teams and the media about his potential and which team offers the best fit.

Most Web sites devoted to the draft project Henderson as a mid-first-round pick. Both NBADraft.net and SI.com predict he will be selected 12th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats, who brought him in for a second workout Monday.

Henderson's stock soared this past season after his production began to match his potential, especially in ACC play. After averaging less than 10 points and four rebounds a game over his freshman and sophomore years, he led the team with 16.5 points per game and was second on the team in total rebounding (4.9).

A first-team All-ACC performer this season, Henderson earned third-team All-America honors as well.

Henderson served notice of his expanded game on Jan. 10 at Florida State, as he scored 14 of Duke's 19 first-half points and finished with a game-high 25 in the Blue Devils' 66-58 victory.

College Basketball News publisher Chris Monter credited the basketball IQ that Henderson inherited from his father for preparing him for the pro game. Gerald Henderson Sr. played in the NBA for 13 years and won three championships. Henderson's athleticism also has impressed teams, Monter said, and he will probably play shooting guard for whoever drafts him.

Borko Popic of NBADraft.net wrote last month that Henderson also boosted his professional stock by adding a pull-up jumper and several counter moves to his offensive game.

But the guessing games and online analyses are all irrelevant to Henderson.

"If the media didn't want to get so much information, I don't think people would care as much, to be honest," he said. "In the big picture, you're just trying to focus on each workout."

Henderson's teammate and best friend at Duke, Jon Scheyer, said he found it hard to believe that everyone who makes a projection can have accurate information. He said Henderson gets bugged with questions about the draft all the time, but it's rarely a topic of conversation between the two friends.

"If he needs to talk about it, he can come to me," Scheyer said. "But really, it's not a big thing we talk about."

The media is hardly the only group concerned with digging into Henderson's mind. He said many teams have given him psychological tests to gauge his personality, but all the questions are "pretty fair and logical."

Henderson has squeezed in 12 total workouts with NBA teams, several of them compressed within a short time span.

In a one-week stretch from June 13 to June 19, he worked out for the Minnesota Timberwolves, flew back to Duke to work with trainers on stretching and resting until the 15th, worked out in Toronto the next day, flew to New Jersey for another workout on the 17th, and took a day off with his family in Philadelphia before concluding the week with a Friday visit to Indiana.

That schedule doesn't include meetings with the Chicago Bulls, the Bobcats, the Phoenix Suns, the New York Knicks, the L.A. Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Henderson said he felt somewhat prepared having played on the road in the ACC and NCAA tournaments, but he acknowledged there was a big difference with traveling every day.

At times, it seemed that the actual workouts were the least exhaustive parts of the draft process for Henderson.

"[Traveling] takes a little toll on you, and sometimes you just want to be home," he said. "It's been tough taking all this time."

It hasn't been all work with no downtime for him. He called his visit to Chicago "cool," and Toronto was one of his favorite cities that he had never visited before this year.

Scheyer said Henderson looks relaxed whenever he returns to Duke, where he can recharge and get excited about the future.

With the actual draft just two days away, his mind can finally start to unburden itself of all the workouts, all the flights and all the speculation that has weighed him down for the past two months.

"A month ago, you can't really think about [draft day] as much because you have so much to do," he said. "But now, I start thinking about what suit I'm going to wear. It should be a fun night."

And a relieving one at that.

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