In the months leading up to the 2020-’21 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the ‘BTPowerhouse 25,’ which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today’s edition will take a brief look at Aaron Henry with the Michigan State Spartans. Henry entered the NBA Draft at the end of last season, but after receiving feedback in the process he chose to return to MSU to buoy a deep backcourt for the Spartans. He will be the most experienced player on the roster in terms of games played for MSU and was selected a team captain for the 2020-2021 season.
‘BTPowerhouse 25’ - No. 9 Aaron Henry:
- Eligibility: Junior
- Career Totals: 69 games, 1,732 minutes, 537 points, 287 rebounds, 147 assists
- 2019-’20 Averages: 29.1 min, 10.76 pts, 4.6 rebs, 2.9 asts, 0.6 blks, 0.8 stls
- Positional Role: Small Forward
The Spartans clinched a share of their third straight Big Ten title last season, and Henry played a big role in that title run in his 29 of 30 starts. His 25 steals and 17 blocks combined with his lock-down perimeter defense was important when combined with individual performances at No. 20 Penn State with 12 points and 8 rebounds, and home against no. 18 Iowa with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Henry is an incredibly athletic and explosive playmaker on offense. He has the ability to beat a man to the basket and score just about whenever. Henry also scored double-digits in nine games last season, including six of his last eight games down the stretch with five of those games also being against ranked opponents. Henry has shown to be a reliable scorer at times when his team needs him most.
Last season, Henry showed himself to be a lock-down defender on the perimeter. He has length and lateral mobility that he used to be a versatile defender, whether playing a guard or forward on his assignment. He uses a high basketball IQ when playing off the ball to great advantage, including a 2.6-percent block percentage against the best guards on opponent’s teams.
-Areas for Improvement
Henry often appeared lost last season at times on offense. He seemingly has a problem with confidence that heavily detracts from his performance at times. When he can get out of this seeming funk, he is a reliable scoring threat and important contributor. However, his shooting percentage was down significantly last season as a result of confidence issues.
Added to the confidence problems, Henry had a bad turnover tendency last season. Behind Xavier Tillman (62), Henry had the second highest number of turnovers on the MSU team last year with 61. The Spartans can ill-afford this habit to stick around as Henry begins his junior season.
Henry will have a big role on the team this season. Between Coach Izzo’s high praise for his off-season improvements, the team selecting him as captain, and his experience as a Spartan, he should be seeing a lot of minutes on the court. Players during fall practice have noted he has drastically improved his shot and ball handling, so if true then opponents should be wary when facing Henry. Fans, however, should look forward to a versatile and dynamic player.
‘BTPowerhouse 25’ Rankings:
- #27-28 - Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #25 - Adam Miller (Illinois)
- #25 - Miller Kopp (Northwestern)
- #22 - Ron Harper (Rutgers)
- #22 - Eric Hunter (Purdue)
- #22 - CJ Fredrick (Iowa)
- #21 - Rob Phinisee (Indiana)
- #20 - Khristian Lander (Indiana)
- #19 - Seth Towns (Ohio State)
- #17 - Nate Reuvers (Wisconsin)
- #17 - Mark “Rocket” Watts (Michigan State)
- #16 - Micah Potter (Wisconsin)
- #15 - Marcus Carr (Minnesota)
- #14 - Joey Hauser (Michigan State)
- #13 - Jordan Bohannon (Iowa)
- #12 - Geo Baker (Rutgers)
- #11 - D’Mitrik Trice (Wisconsin)
- #10 - Aaron Wiggins (Maryland)
- #9 - Aaron Henry (Michigan State)
- #8 - To be continued . . .