SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sanford Pentagon/KELOLAND Media Group All-Star Special aired on Friday, April 16, announcing Matthew Mors and Caelyn Valandra-Prue as the Players of the Year.
SDSU men’s basketball coach Eric Henderson was this year’s guest speaker.
Reflecting back on this year, with you coaching the college game, obviously a little different than the high school game, but just how challenging of a year was this?
“There was a lot of curve balls thrown at everybody and whether you’re coaching high school or playing high school basketball, everybody had challenges and they were different for everybody. Just to have some of those pauses that we did and then be excited for an opportunity and then it was taken away from you at certain times, just the ups and downs and kind of the roller coaster of the season, was certainly wild,” Henderson said.
Obviously, you are a coach now, but you were a played back in the day, but what do you just remember about your playing days in high school and then up at Wayne State in the collegiate level?
“That was a few years ago, but I have some great memories. Even in high school and college both, my best friends, even still today, are my teammates. When you work together, with other people your age, the memories that you share and the successes that you have or maybe not even the successes, just the memories and the circumstances, those last a lifetime and the relationships that you build during those times, is probably what I remember the most. When I’m struggling with something, that’s who I go to, old teammates for advice and different things. That’s the most important thing is the relationship’s that you’re building and going through the ups and downs with buddies,” Henderson said.
How long did it take you to decide that you were going to get in the coaching profession while you were at Wayne State?
“Not very long. Even growing up, I had some great mentors, that’s who I looked up to, was my coaches and my teachers you know, during my elementary days and stuff, so I always knew that I wanted to get into education and coaching. When I was fortunate enough to go to Wayne State and play for coach McDermott who is now at Creighton. He was a great mentor to me and we kind of started talking about it after my sophomore year honestly with, ‘hey, would you like to be a GA? Have you thought about coaching in college?.’ It is something that was started at that time, but I was never quite sure. I knew I wanted to help young people grow and learn and to be able to do that, full time, through the sport I love, I understand I’m a pretty lucky dude,” Henderson said.
We’re unable to have the banquet in person this year, you’re not able to meet our ten finalists, but if you were and you had a message for them and for all players across the area, what would that be?
“You know, I’ve thought a lot about this Sean and the thing that comes to my mind is you’re going forward in the next step of your life and a lot of these young basketball players, may be going to be play at the next level and some of them may just be going to college, some of them may just start working and get a job. The thing that comes to my mind is respectful, consistent communication. It’s not only verbally when you’re talking to whether it’s your coach, whether it’s your parents, whether it’s your teachers, that’s so important, but maybe more importantly, is that non-verbal communication. How you present yourself, whether it’s in a classroom in front of a college or whether it’s going to practice, that body language, that mojo that you have, you get a first impression. I do, you do, everybody does and if you can have that positive, respectful and maybe most importantly consistent communication in both verbal and non-verbal, I think it’s huge,” Henderson said.