Opening day impressions
By Rob Daniels
UNCGSpartans.com staff writer
GREENSBORO, N.C. – So far, the UNCG Spartans like what they see out of Aloysius Henry. Now they just want to see more of him.
They don’t need the 6-foot-10 center to grow or bulk up. The issue is one of time.
“Aloysius showed some pretty good things on the inside,” coach Mike Dement said after the Spartans fell to Florida State 97-73 in the 2010-11 home opener. “We have to get him to stay out of foul trouble.”
In two games against high-quality opposition, Henry has gone 9-for-15 from the floor in scoring 25 points. Four fouls limited him to 15 minutes at VCU on Friday, and four more held him back in a 20-minute showing against FSU.
Henry is probably the most skilled player of his size to wear the Spartan uniform in several years. Once he learns to avoid the unnecessary reach-in or the late and improbable post challenge, he should be a vital part of an interesting young team.
“They kept attacking us and kept attacking the basket,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “They threw the ball inside and got baskets in front of the goal, and we normally don’t let guys throw the ball right in the middle of the lane like that.”
Indeed the long and mobile Seminoles blocked 11 UNCG shots, but none of them came off of Henry, whose quick post moves featured a deft baby hook and an effective head-fake or two.
“That has always been part of my game, but as I’ve been at UNCG, I’ve been getting better at my craft,” said Henry, a native of the Windward Islands who played two solid seasons at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
And he might have a running mate. Cody Henegar, a 6-9 freshman from Pittsburg, Tenn., did get a couple of shots blocked, but he didn’t back down. Henegar’s preference is to use his perimeter quickness to drive from the top of the key, and a 12-point, nine-rebound, 18-minute outing against one of the nation’s premier defensive teams suggested good things.
“Aggressive,” Henegar said in a brief self-analysis. “That’s what the coaches want me to be. I want to look to score.”
After playing twice in less than 48 hours, the Spartans are off until this Sunday, Nov. 21, when Virginia Tech comes to town. And between now and then, their focus will be easy to pinpoint.
“We have to defend somebody,” Dement said. “In two games against high-level groups, we’ve put up 86 and 73 points. That’s enough to win some of the games in our conference, but we’ve given up 101 and 97. A lot of times, youth shows up on defense and in rebounding: a failure to block out, rotations, recognizing who’s the shooter, whatever it may be. We’re going to continue to work on that.”
They’ll keep getting the competition. On Sunday, much of it came from Chris Singleton, the 6-9 Seminole who delivered a triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 steals. In a week, the Hokies come to the Greensboro Coliseum with returning ACC scoring champion Malcolm Delaney and their own big man, Jeff Allen.
“The experience of just playing that level of basketball will help us for future games,” Henry said. “We know what we have to work on and hopefully next game, we’ll come out stronger.”