EDINBURGH — Earlier this season, Edinburgh boys basketball player Coltan Henderson stepped out of his comfort zone and in front of an opposing player.
The 6-foot junior guard planted his feet, held his ground and drew a charge — the first of his varsity career.
Henderson, whose reputation as an offensive-minded player is highlighted by numerous made 3-pointers since the start of his freshman season, raised more than a few eyebrows with his defense.
“All my friends say I’m the worst defender ever and that I couldn’t guard a light post,” Henderson said with a laugh. “But I have been working on moving my feet and stopping the drive.
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“When it happened, I think (friends) were shocked, really.”
Maybe they shouldn’t have been.
First-year coach Keith Witty’s emphasis on implementing an airtight man-to-man defense has the Lancers yielding an average of 47.2 points a game, 17 points less than last season.
A new system requires time to learn, and Henderson is working to become a more complete player.
“One thing Coltan does need to work on is his defense,” said Witty, previously an assistant coach under Jerry Bomholt at Franklin for two seasons (2012-13 and 2013-14). “Coltan is like the old-school gym rat. I’m trying to get him to be more vocal because he’s a quiet kid. But he’s a competitor who doesn’t like to lose, so he does have that edge.”
The drive Henderson possesses applies to his grades as well. He’s ranked third in his class academically with a 4.1 grade-point average.
And as he’s improved his defense, his offense hasn’t suffered. Henderson leads the 7-4 Lancers with a 13.3 scoring average, and he’s knocked down a team-high 37 3-pointers.
“His scoring ability is something we rely on and something we look for,” Witty said.
Henderson is comfortable shooting as far away as a couple steps behind the 3-point stripe. However, he knows individual point totals mean little if he can’t prevent the player he’s guarding from scoring.
“I focus on what I do best, and that’s making shots,” Henderson said. “Honestly, though, defense has helped us this year.”
A year ago, Edinburgh forward Parker Bryant stood his ground and was charged into 14 times. Henderson says he would like to take at least five charges by the time this season is over.
Asked why he wouldn’t aim higher, Henderson laughed.
“I’m happy with one right now,” he said.