Not all athletes have the opportunity to make an impact on their team as a freshman, but when you turn down four division I offers to come to The Rock, the talent is almost expected to be there.
Slippery Rock women’s basketball freshman forward Morgan Henderson has done just that, and her talents have not gone unnoticed as she was voted The Rocket’s Athlete of the Month for February.
“I was really looking at University at Buffalo,” Henderson said. “When I came here to visit Slippery Rock, I loved the team, I loved the coaches, and I loved the campus. It felt right and going division II meant that I would be on the floor and it would be a better atmosphere for me.”
Henderson said she felt more comfortable in the Slippery Rock atmosphere than she did during her entire year of high school.
After moving from Pennsylvania to Texas as a child, then back to Pennsylvania because of her dad’s job, Henderson said, this is the first time she ever settled in so quickly and it is the reason why she developed and adapted so well as the season went on.
At a towering 6’2”, Henderson was one of three players on SRU’s roster that stood above 6’0” and is usually one of the tallest players on the court.
Henderson said her size is not the norm for a forward, but she feels her strength and size has given her an advantage.
“Basketball has changed a lot,” Henderson said. “Post (players) are supposed to be tall and lean, and I am built more. It helps me because I’m stronger, but I can also shoot and move well, so I can set screens and get my guards open as well.”
Henderson’s diverse play of size and agility showed on the court as she shot 38.5 percent from the field in the year, which consisted of a pair of three-pointers, and protected the ball well, only averaging one turnover per game. She also used her size to her benefit on defense, averaging 3.3 rebounds per game, the fourth-highest on the team.
Henderson’s play does not come without hard work.
She said that there is a lot of conditioning she has to do in and out of season to prepare her to play to best of her abilities.
“Our assistant coach Jazmyne Frost really helps us out as our post coach,” Henderson said. “Every practice we have post and guard break up, and then we really focus on shooting and defense after. It’s just the constant drills after drills that really get my momentum going.”
Her hard work makes her more confident in her game. As a young player, she often has to match up with seniors, but she said her game preparation allows her to not worry about the age gap. Henderson said she is prepared to do what is asked of her whether on offense or defense, no matter who she is matched up against.
Going into her sophomore season, Henderson is taking that hard work and confidence with her. She is planning to use the offseason to get in better shape and work on her on-court skills to become a dominant force for the team she thinks has an opportunity for a championship.
“We’ve already beat the number one team in the east,” Henderson said. “We’ve beat Gannon two times in school history. I feel like next year we are going to be unstoppable.”