BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Aja Wilson era is over at South Carolina. Destanni Henderson has next.
Wilson, who led the Gamecocks to a national title in 2017 and was the Naismith Player of the Year this season, is a likely first-round WNBA draft choice next week.
Henderson, a 5-8 guard, led Fort Myers, Fla., to its third consecutive state title this past season. Now, she’s headed to South Carolina, but first this weekend, she’s playing here in the Jordan Brand Classic. The JBC girls game is 2:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday at the Barclays Center, followed by the boys game at 5 p.m.
“I feel like I’m going to fit in pretty well at South Carolina,” Henderson said. “It’s a fast-paced team. There have a lot of guards, so I just try to be a combo guard get in position to score and get everyone else in position to score, just really bring what they need. I feel like it’s our time to get things going. They are going to have a really good team.”
Henderson had some impressive moments during Saturday’s practice with passes that drew on-court praise from Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) coach Bob Mackey, one of the coaches in the game. Playing the point is just part of Henderson’s tool box, however.
“In high school, I was a definitely a combo guard,” she said. “I really didn’t start playing point until my senior year. You have players who can play a position and then you have me, who can play multiple and I was definitely playing other spots on the court, but my senior year, I played more of a point.”
Henderson said the Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley has also Henderson will need to add her own offense next season.
“They know I can do all of those passes,” Henderson said. “I’m not a selfish player. They are really going to try to get me to score and shoot the ball.”
The Jordan Brand Classic also has a boys player with Fort Myers connections, Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) forward Emmitt Williams. He grew up with Henderson in Lehigh Acres, Fla., and is headed to Louisiana State.
“He was very goofy growing up,” Henderson said. “His mom was our bus driver. I think I played against a few times in pick-up.”