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Pack player preview: Corey Henson in a fight for backcourt minutes

Corey Henson
Corey Henson adds backcourt depth for Nevada. (Antony Resnick/Nevada Sports Net)

Nevada Sports Net’s Chris Murray will break down each of Nevada’s 12 eligible scholarship players prior to the Wolf Pack basketball team’s season opener Nov. 6 versus BYU. We will count the players down in alphabetical order using their last names. Today’s player: Corey Henson.

Corey Henson

Class: Senior

Number: 2

Position: Combo guard

Height/weight: 6-3/175

Hometown: Upper Marlboro, Md.

2017-18 stats: 33.9 mpg, 14.6 ppg, 2.7 apg, 2.6 rpg, 41.6 FG%, 35.3 3PT%, 82 FT% (2016-17 season at Wagner)

Likely role: Henson is in a three-way battle with Nisre Zouzoua and Jazz Johnson – two other transfers who sat out last season – to be the first guard off the bench. Henson is capable of playing both guard positions and was a stable producer at Wagner, where he averaged at least 13 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and shot 35-plus percent from three in his last two years as a member of the Seahawks. Henson might not have one special standout skill but he’s been well coached and is a well-rounded and savvy offensive player who can stretch the floor. He’s hit 180 threes in his college career, canning them at a 36.4 percent rate. To stay in the rotation and get consistent minutes, Henson must sit in the high 30 percent range from three, limit his turnovers (he has 181 turnovers to 224 assists in his career) and show improved defense (a noticeable issue at Wagner).

Key stat: 11.9 — Henson averaged 11.9 shots per game during his final season at Wagner (and 10.6 shots per game the year before). He’s not going to get nearly that made shots on Nevada’s deep roster, nor will guys like Zouzoua or Johnson, so each must figure out how to be productive role players without the ball being in their hands. Add in the fact each sat out last year and has to knock off some rust and coach Eric Musselman will need to be patient as they figure out how to be contributors in different roles after a season off.

In his words: “A national championship. That’s our goal. Obviously, we’d like to get a conference tournament as well. It’s more day to day, trying to get better one day at a time. … I think (fighting for minutes) is nothing but helpful. If you’re a starter, you play every day not to get your spot taken because there’s somebody capable behind you of doing that. And if you’re a reserve, you’re trying every day to get on the floor and get minutes. Iron sharpens iron. We want to get better every day and have that mentality that everybody is trying to get something and we have a goal in mind we’re trying to reach. … From the outside, everybody knows we have a lot of talent, but it takes a lot more than that to get a national championship. We have to have the drive, the will, the determination. We know things are going to go wrong. We have to keep playing, bounce back and take it one day at a time and get better every day if we’re going to win a national championship. … I’ll just open up the floor for guys with my shooting, my play-making. I’m looking to be a scrappy defender and help make some plays for my guys and get some wins. … (Sold out season tickets) is amazing and a tribute to the guys who came before us. Last year, we got to the Sweet 16, so of course there will be some buzz, but there’s a lot a buzz around this team based on the talent we have. We’re excited that the fans are excited and we’re going to fill the stands up.”

Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @MurrayNSN.

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