Former Newton hoopster Shane Henry (right) is taking his game to Virginia Tech after a successful two years at Georgia Perimeter, Henry is shown driving the ball against a Langston Hughes player at Newton. (Submitted photo)
COVINGTON — Former Newton hoops player Shane Henry is taking his game an even higher next level. After playing for Georgia Perimeter for two years, Henry will take his collegiate career to higher level playing playing for Virginia Tech.
Henry had been looked at by a lot of mid-majors as well as Texas Tech, Arkansas and Georgia.
One of the mid-majors which caught his eye was University of South Florida. But when Bulls assistant coach Steve Roccaforte made a move to Virginia Tech Henry decided that he go there too.
“One of the assistant coaches was at USF and he was recruiting me since the last summer before the season. I was really staying loyal to him,” Henry said. “The campus is beautiful and gives you a homey feeling like you can go there and be happy. Also, Buzz Williams, the head coach has a history with JUCO players and how he’s helped put them in the NBA. He’s a straight forward guy and I really like that about him.”
There’s no doubt that there were so many people that were after him considering the year he had at GPC.
Henry was named the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year leading the conference in blocks (4.6 per game), total rebounds (363) and offensive rebounds (225) while getting a double-double 18 times this season. He also averaged 13.2 points per game scoring a season-high 23 points against Central Georgia Tech College.
“We could see this coming because his senior year he had a couple of triple-doubles and averaged a double-double. He and Stephen (Croone), who is at Furman, would alley-oop. Stephen’s passes and his dunks were incredible. You could see the athleticism. When Georgia Perimeter came and saw him play they offered (scholarship) that evening, he had a triple-double against M.L. King,” Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen said. “This year he was a beast averaging a double-double and five blocks.”
While Henry has proven a lot on and off the floor, there was a time when playing at the collegiate level was nothing more than a dream with little chance of ever becoming a reality.
After starting as a reserve on the freshman team at Newton, Henry failed to make the junior varsity team as a sophomore. But Rasmussen decided to let him help out as a manager because of his love for the game. He was allowed to practice with the team and even played in the final game of the season as a reward.
During the summer of his junior year, Henry was not sure if he was going to stay at Newton or attend Alcovy as the rezoning lines were drawn. He was allowed to stay at Newton since he had already started there but he did not attend any of the summer practices.
“That’s so rare that someone doesn’t come out for our summer practice and they make the team,” Rasmussen said. “But what happened was that he grew like three or four inches and got really athletic and started getting his coordination. Suddenly we realized that he was going to be a college player. He had a great two years on the varsity.”
Henry will report to Blacksburg in August after he completes his two-year degree. But that does not mean he is still not hard at work.
“I’m staying in the weight room. They sent me a lifting workout sheet so I can stay at the same place as the other players that are working out up there right now,” he said. “I’m working out where ever I can. But when I can I will be heading (to Newton).”
Henry still has two years of playing eligibility but the Hokies have the option of redshirting him for one year. After that he has hopes of playing professionally. A goal which Rasmussen feels is a possibility.
“He has a dream to play professionally and he has worked his tail off,” Rasmussen said. “I would not be surprised if he plays professionally whether it’s overseas or NBDL (National Basketball Developmental League) or the NBA.”