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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Duke's Henderson to go pro ... maybe

Posted by on Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 7:02 PM

Various reports surfaced Monday saying an announcement for Duke guard Gerald Henderson to enter the NBA Draft was imminent.

WRAL News reported Monday that two NBA sources said Henderson was going to declare and various draft websites said he was in the process of hiring an agent.

Somehow these two mysterious and unknown NBA sources are more reputable than Duke's Associate Sports Information Director Matt Plizga, who actually spoke to Henderson.

“He’s still trying to figure out what he’ll end up doing,” Plizga said, who added that he doesn’t anticipate a decision until right before the deadline to declare, April 26, according to the Chronicle.

NBA Draft websites such as Draftexpress.com and NBADraft.net are claiming Henderson has hired an agent and will enter the draft.

Yet only a few weeks ago these same services claimed UNC's Ed Davis was speaking to agents and in the process of declaring for the draft.

The bottom line: Once a press conference is called for Henderson, then you can assume he is announcing his decision to enter the draft. Before that it's anyone's guess and too often conversations with agents or NBA personnel are considered proof that a player is declaring.

Remember Outback-gate last season? Ty Lawson apparently met with an agent at the Durham Outback last April, which made it a foregone conclusion in the media that he would hire an agent and turn pro.

But he didn't. Lawson entered the draft without hiring an agent, and UNC was probably one traffic incident away from not winning the title in 2009  since the Denver Nuggets decided against promising to select Lawson after he was pulled over for having his music too loud and he elected to return to school.

More often than not mere statements are released if players plan to return but press conferences are called for declarations.

Since there has been no official word from Henderson, it's safe to assume he is seriously considering the draft. In my opinion, he is deliberating on whether or not to hire an agent -- but that just as all the other talk from NBA sources is mere speculation.

If Henderson returns and Duke's frontcourt recruits Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee live up to the hype, Duke will have a chance to sour UNC's 2009 NCAA run with a title of their own.

If Henderson, Lawson and Wayne Ellington all leave for the NBA, the ACC will be much more competitive and Duke would likely fall from being a national title favorite.

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