Oct. 26, 2012
During the next four weeks, VUCommodores.com will profile all four of Vanderbilt's most veteran men's basketball players: Kyle Fuller, Josh Henderson, Rod Odom and James Siakam. The interviews were all conducted before the start of practice and provide viewers with a closer look at the upbringing and personalities of each player on and off the court. Today, we feature redshirt sophomore center Josh Henderson.
Up Close: Siakam
Even at nearly 7-feet tall, Vanderbilt redshirt sophomore center Josh Henderson has never had to venture far to find a challenge on the basketball court. As a youth, all Henderson had to do was take just a few steps outside the doors to the house in which he grew up, and he would usually find a challenge that was more than he had bargained for.
It was there by the family basketball hoop where Josh and his father, David, staged many knockdown, drag-out battles where neither one would concede to the other.
David, a 6-foot-9 former center at Maryland from 1976-80, could stand toe-to-toe and defend against Josh's height. Though years removed from when he was a member of Maryland's 1980 ACC championship team, David still maintained enough of a skill set to control the one-on-one matchups, but as Josh continued to develop, the gap between the two grew smaller and smaller. And eventually Josh won.
Josh recalls his first win against his dad coming when he was "11 or 12" years old. To swing the matchups back into his favor, David began to pull out all the stops.
"He'd always find ways to cheat a little bit," Josh said. "We played on a mountain so when he'd get tired, he'd throw the ball down the hill and I'd have to go get it. He would find ways, when I went up for a layup he'd push me against the garage, just small stuff like that. He was still competitive. He didn't do it to hurt me. He just did it to play around with me."
After a while, even David's antics couldn't slow Josh down enough.
"The first time I dunked on him was when I was probably 16 or 17," Josh recalled. "That was kind of cool. He quit."
The two have not played one-on-one in a while, but Josh maintains fond memories from those backyard games and looks forward to playing again one day. "I always enjoyed playing against my dad," Henderson said.
A native of Roanoke, Va., Henderson is the youngest of three children. His older brother, Matthew, preferred soccer, while his older sister, Carol, played basketball at Bridgewater.
Henderson is currently rehabbing a foot injury suffered last year and hopes to be in Vanderbilt's lineup early in the year.
To learn more about Henderson, watch this video.