Adrianna Henderson is electric with the ball in her hands.
Henderson’s ballhandling ability combined with a superb shooting touch and the ability to score in the post makes her one of the best players in the Midwest.
The 5-foot-8 senior point guard averaged 22.1 points on 50-percent shooting last season earning first-team All-City and third team All-Class 6A honors. She also carries a 4.0 GPA.
“I don’t think anybody in the state of Kansas can stop her,” Topeka High assistant coach Eddie Lee said.
Wichita State, Fresno State, North Texas, and DePaul have expressed interest in Henderson and could be close to offering. Henderson took an unofficial visit to Wichita State a couple weeks ago.
“Fresno State and North Texas have showed the most interest,” Henderson said. “Wichita State has just been talking, they’re waiting until after the season to see how I do. They all said they were going to come to a game or two.”
Fresno State, which visited Topeka High this fall, could be the first to offer.
“When we were in the office with Fresno State I just felt like they were ready to offer,” Lee said. “They’re ready because all they had were positive things to say. They really want Adrianna, but they know this is a Kansas girl that’s far away from home, so let’s make sure it’s right. But they laid out what I thought was an offer and said a lot of things like what she would be getting as far as health-wise, tutoring, and what kind of scholarship she would be having. It’s not an official offer, but they are after her and they know other schools are after her.
“The Fresno State coach kept saying how good she’d look in their color of a uniform.”
Henderson likes the four that have showed interest, but is hoping for more options including hearing from Baylor, her childhood favorite team.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Baylor,” Henderson said. “They usually send girls to the WNBA, that’s why I like them.”
Henderson is the best player to come out of Topeka High since 2005 graduate Andrea Barber, who went on to play at Southern Miss.
“I always feel confident,” Henderson said. “I just feel like nobody can really hold me.”
Henderson has put in a lot of work in being a successful player and a student, who has interest in studying accounting in college.
“Grades are just as important as basketball,” Henderson said.
Lee said: “She has an attitude when her grades go to a ‘B’. She wants to be straight-A’s. That’s her goals.”
There was a time earlier this year that she was unable to make an offseason workout after school because of an academic obligation. But after she was done she was at the local YMCA putting up shots on her own to make sure she stayed on top of her game.
“She’s going to find a gym,” Lee said. “She’s going to make sure she’s a gym rat. She’s going to make sure if I don’t make it here, I’m going to be there.”
Henderson’s most impressive performance last season was a 39-point outburst in a 69-68 loss to Emporia as she made 15 of 21 shots from the field and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line.
“It wasn’t really anything to be excited about because we still lost,” Henderson said.
The 39-point game was impressive by itself, but was even more impressive given that Emporia held her to a season-low six points in a 37-point blowout earlier in the year.
“I just couldn’t make a shot the first time,” Henderson said.
Henderson posted three 30-point games and scored at least 20 points in 14 of the Lady Trojans’ 22 games as the team finished 9-13.
“If we don’t score within two possessions we know that Adrianna can give us a bucket against anybody,” Lee said. “If we don’t go twice and we don’t score I just feel like we have to get her the ball. We have to. … When the ball is in her hands everybody just feels a lot more comfortable.”
Henderson, whose favorite NBA player is Stephen Curry, played as a freshman and averaged 11.3 points as a sophomore before her breakout junior campaign.
“I was just more comfortable my junior year,” Henderson said. “My freshman and sophomore year I was still an underclassmen so I didn’t really want to do too much.”
She has developed into a more of a vocal leader as a senior. Topeka High has started this season 1-1 with a win over Blue Valley Southwest on Dec. 10 led by Henderson’s 25 points.
“I just think we rebounded the ball better and we played more as a team,” Henderson said.
It was good for the Lady Trojans to get their first win early after starting last year 0-3.
“It builds up our confidence a lot,” Henderson said.
Henderson will be looking to lead the team to their first state tournament appearance since 2002 when Kansas star Crystal (Kemp) Jones was a senior and seventh overall.
“I think we have all of the pieces to win and go to state,” Henderson said.