State Now

NC State’s Henderson continues to play the ‘waiting game’

Technically, Terry Henderson earned a degree in sport management from N.C. State.

Henderson, the second-leading scorer on the Wolfpack basketball team last season, could also have an unofficial minor in patience.

“My whole journey has been mostly a waiting game,” Henderson said in an interview on Friday.

The 6-5, 190-pound guard from Raleigh had to wait while he sat out a year after he transferred from West Virginia. He had to wait almost a full year after an injury early in the first game of the 2015-16 season. And now, as a graduate, he is waiting again.

After five seasons in college basketball, Henderson’s eligibility clock has expired. He has appealed to the NCAA for an extra year, or a sixth-year waiver. If he gets it, he will come back to N.C. State for another season. If he doesn’t, he’ll try his hand at professional basketball.

But all Henderson can do right now is wait … and wait … and wait some more.

“I think about it every day, 80 times a day,” Henderson said of his pending appeal with the NCAA. “Just trying to come up with anything I can do to help. At the end of the day, I don’t make the call, they do.”

The NCAA gives athletes five years to play four seasons. There is one built-in year to use for a medical redshirt or as a transfer.

When Henderson left West Virginia after his sophomore season in 2013-14, he used up his one “free” year. The problem for Henderson is that his fourth season, in 2015-16 at N.C. State, only lasted 7 minutes. He damaged ligaments in his right ankle in the opening minutes of the season and didn’t play the rest of the year.

In order to get that season back, Henderson needs an extension of his eligibility clock. Through N.C. State, he applied for the waiver after the team lost in the ACC tournament in early March.

Henderson, who’s 23, said that it was a mistake to wait so long to start the appeal process with the NCAA.

“I really didn’t know too much about the process,” Henderson said. “If I knew it was going to take this long, and been this stressful, I would have done it a long time ago.”

Henderson, who averaged 13.8 points per game last season and led the Wolfpack in 3-pointers (78), has tried to keep busy while he waits for an answer from the NCAA.

He graduated in December but waited to partake in the commencement ceremony until last weekend.

“I wanted to wait to walk with BeeJay (Anya) and Lennard (Freeman) and (Chris) Brickhouse,” Henderson said of his teammates who graduated in May.

The NCAA does allow Henderson to participate in offseason team workouts while he awaits his fate. Even without the current shortage of scholarship players on the roster, Henderson would be a good fit in new coach Kevin Keatts’ up-tempo, 3-point system.

There is, as Keatts promised, a lot of running, Henderson said. But the new coach has been impressive.

“He brings an unmatched intensity to the workouts,” Henderson said. “He’s going to get the best out of the guys each and every day.”

The NCAA didn’t give Henderson a timetable for the decision. He laughed at his own naivety on Friday when he said he thought it would only take two weeks.

Henderson has kept up with the other recent eligibility decisions by the NCAA. Ben Carter, a graduate transfer at Michigan State, got a sixth-year from the NCAA on May 8. Jalan West, a guard at Northwestern State, got a seventh-year waiver on May 5.

“I saw on Twitter a dude got a seventh year,” Henderson said. “I was like, ‘Man, I’m just looking for a sixth year.’ I don’t need all that.”

A spokesman for N.C. State said there was no update on Henderson’s case on Friday.

Privately, school officials have not been optimistic about Henderson’s case, even with Carter’s success and the similarity with Dylan Ennis’ case at Oregon last season.

The problem isn’t getting the injury year back, technically that’s already been approved by the NCAA. It’s getting back the transfer year. The NCAA considers the transfer year a choice and has typically only granted sixth- or seventh-year waivers to athletes who miss multiple seasons with injuries.

Henderson isn’t sure what will ultimately happen with the NCAA. He is ready for an answer. If he doesn’t get the waiver, he said he’ll try to find a spot with a pro team.

“I’m mature enough to go into the world,” Henderson said. “I’ve done a lot and been through a lot. I’ll be ready.”

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio