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For a basketball team to find true success in scoring efficiency, the offense must have an ‘orchestrator,' as I like to call it. The title refers to a ball-handler who embraces the role of setting up his or her teammates and dictating designed plays. Even with a coaching staff on the sideline, a true orchestrator may not even need help in running the show. A strong basketball IQ allows vision to see when and where certain decisions should be made. Not all players can handle this role. It requires a mix of intelligence, skill, and poise to act as a floor general. Maturity also plays a big factor. At L.C. Bird High School, the aforementioned components all come into the form of Tyler Henderson '20. The scary part is that he's just getting started.

Standing at 5'8, Henderson took over as point guard for the Skyhawks this past season. It was his first full year on varsity as a sophomore; he spent most of his freshmen season on the JV team before being brought up with the varsity crew. A quick transition as a sophomore starter may come across as intimidating to some players but Henderson refused to let it get the best of him.

'Yeah, coming into varsity was different at first,' he noted. 'In the beginning, I was a little nervous. But, once the games began and I started producing, I quickly saw how I could compete with anybody. Never looked back.'

Many eyes were most likely on Henderson at the beginning. He was a new starter in a program that had been crowned as state champions back during his freshmen year. Those same eyes should have found great satisfaction once Henderson took the court. He's a bona-fide two-way player. On the offensive side, Henderson's pull-up jump shot proves as a particularly effective go-to move. He pushes the ball fast and elevates quick to knock down the shot consistently, mostly in the midrange area. His handle and change of speed allows him to attack the basket in either direction and draw fouls. He can also knock down the long ball when given a good look. What stands out the most, however, is his court vision for such a young player. With solid scorers around him, Henderson constantly gets in the lane to create easy and open looks for others. Want to see a true orchestrator, like how I detailed earlier' Then take a trip to watch Henderson play. I'm sure the L.C. Bird players really enjoy playing with the calm guard.

On the defensive side, Henderson possesses quick hands and timing to pickpocket opponents and uses his speed in converting easy baskets. He makes a point of making his opponent uncomfortable as soon as the ball is inbounded. It's easy to see where Henderson gets his style of play from when he acknowledges his favorite NBA guards.

'I watch Chris Paul a lot. Him and Tyler Ulis. I like how they play.'

Having a former college point guard in Troy Manns as a head coach played a big role in Henderson's successful first varsity season. The two connect on a high-level in understanding each other.

'He (Manns) is a great coach. I like how he was a D1 point guard at Virginia Tech back in college. So, he basically just guides me in telling me what I have to do on the floor.'

After the high school season, Henderson decided to join Manns and four of his Bird teammates on the Team Loaded 804 17u squad. Although he was one of, if not, the youngest players on the roster, Henderson never paid any mind to it.

'There actually weren't any challenges in playing up. I saw it as: it's just basketball.'

Serving as a floor general for his AAU team, in a likewise fashion to his high school performances, Henderson started to turn more heads in the community and of college coaches. Some spectators have started to acknowledge him as one of the best floor generals and up-and-coming players in Chesterfield County. He currently does not hold any offers but gained the interest of several Division I programs.

'Right now, I have interest from Longwood, Tennessee State, and VMI.'

Throughout the summer, when he wasn't playing AAU, Henderson started to make more social media headlines for his standout performances in L.C. Bird's hosted summer league. The widely covered league involved a plethora of talented players and teams. Nonetheless, it was Henderson who walked away with MVP honors after leading Bird to the championship. He showed pure focus from the first game up until the last.

'My summer league play came naturally; I didn't really have my sights on earning MVP or anything like that. I realize that I'll have to step up in a bigger role this season since we lost some guys to graduation. So, I saw summer league as a test and just started playing my game.'

Moving forward, now as an upperclassmen, Henderson feels there's a specific approach to his game he must maintain to keep attracting the interest of college coaches.

'For me, it's really just about going out there and showing I can compete with anybody on the floor. I feel that the rest will take care of itself as long as I keep that mindset every day.'

Henderson acknowledges that Coach Manns also has his own expectations for the young guard's last two years at L.C. Bird.

'Coach has talked to me about developing more as a leader for the team,' Henderson stated firmly. 'Leading more in all ways. He and I both understand how important it is since I'm a point guard.'

With his skills and mature mentality, one can expect Henderson to keep the flow going for the Skywawks. His ceiling has no limits and his exposure just begun. Imagine what type of player we might be seeing by the time he's a senior.

So… where does Tyler Henderson see himself in ten years'

'Hopefully in the NBA! If not, I'll probably find a career path that interests me once I start studying in college.'

 

 

 

Go buy a ticket to watch Henderson put on exciting performances as the Skyhawks' orchestrator this season! You won't be disappointed.