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Nationally acclaimed hoops star heading to Sickles

John Henson, who has committed to play for North Carolina, is bringing his double-digit scoring and rebounding to Sickles.

KELLY KLINE | Special to the Times

John Henson, who has committed to play for North Carolina, is bringing his double-digit scoring and rebounding to Sickles.

TAMPA — John Henson, a heralded five-star 6-foot-10 power forward and University of North Carolina commit, will enroll at Sickles this week, his father told the Times on Wednesday.

The senior is rated the country's fifth-best member of the 2009 senior class by Rivals.com and is one of only 25 seniors nationally to earn a five-star ranking. Henson is moving from Round Rock, Texas, a suburb of Austin, because his father, Matt, will be taking a job in the Tampa area.

For Sickles, the news gets even better. Henson's sister Amber, a 6-foot-31/2 sophomore forward, also is headed to the school. She has scholarship offers from programs such as Duke, North Carolina and Texas.

As a junior, John Henson averaged double figures in scoring and rebounding despite sustaining a broken nose after reportedly getting elbowed in the face during a game. Before committing to the Tar Heels in January (he was UNC's first commit), Henson also considered Arizona, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA.

"We're extremely excited to have both of them join our program," Sickles boys coach Renaldo Garcia said.

The family visited the area last week.

"I think (John and Amber) like it," Matt Henson said. "At first they didn't know what to think. But once they got there, they liked it. Now they're excited about it. … It's a nice area. It's a great place to raise a family. Obviously, the Sickles school offers excellent academics and good athletics."

John Henson's addition will strengthen what already figured to be a solid Sickles squad. Junior point guard Jordan Davis is considered a rising star and has received interest from several Division I programs, including Miami.

With the arrival of Henson, Hillsborough County should have one of its top senior classes for boys basketball in recent memory. King forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, Plant guard Sheldon Cooley and Berkeley Prep guard Austin Suarez have D-I scholarship offers.

Hillsborough County has not had a post player with Henson's national reputation since Casey Sanders (who later played for Duke) was at Tampa Prep in the 1990s. The previous decade, Brandon's roster included 7-foot-1 center Dwayne Schintzius, a McDonald's All-American. Garcia and Schintzius were teammates at the University of Florida.

Amber Henson's impact should be equally significant. She averaged 14.5 points, nine rebounds and four blocks as a ninth-grader and was named district newcomer of the year.

"She was the best 3-point shooter on the team, she can handle it, bring it up and down the court and start the transition," Matt Henson said. "She can start the break and she can post up. She's really a (small forward), but she can play four positions."

Nationally acclaimed hoops star heading to Sickles 08/20/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 22, 2008 3:48pm]
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