Henderson era begins for Jackrabbits


BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Only hours after T.J. Otzelberger left Brookings in favor of Las Vegas, Eric Henderson was named SDSU men’s basketball coach.

SDSU basketball fans flocked to downtown Brookings for a chance to meet new men’s basketball coach Eric Henderson, who calls this opportunity a dream come true. 

“I fell in love with this place three years ago when I came here, and this is where we want to be,” SDSU Head Coach Eric Henderson said. 

Henderson spent the last three years as an assistant coach under T.J. Otzelberger, who’s departure rattled the program, though sadness turned to excitement when Henderson took the reins.

“You saw that sadness. You saw that, you know kind of sad face turn into excitement, and that certainly makes a guy like myself in that position feel really good,” Henderson said. 

Next year’s team will be without departed seniors Mike Daum, Skyler Flatten and Tevin King, and could be without sophomore star David Jenkins, who was granted his release from the program, though he could remain in Brookings.

“David knows how special this place is just like all of our other guys. The commitment that all of our players have toward each other is pretty special. We want guys that want to be here,” Henderson said. 

While the Jacks boasted the nation’s fifth highest scoring offense this year, Henderson says they’ll focus on creating a more balanced approach to winning under his guidance.

“The ability to get some stops a little bit more often. Some toughness and some grit. It’s really important for us moving forward that we have multiple ways to win,” Henderson said. 

His approach may differ from his predecessor, but Henderson says the goal remains the same.

“How can we make this experience better for our guys? T.J. is elite at that, and that’s something that I want to be elite as well,” Henderson said.

This is Henderson’s first head coaching job at the college level, as he becomes the 22nd head coach in program history.

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