The Miami Hurricanes’ improbable climb to No. 2 in the Associated Press poll and run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament weren’t enough to sway four-star 6-9 forward Demetrius Henry.
Inside the Oakland Park Northeast High auditorium Wednesday, Henry ended the suspense of a decision that was delayed a week by announcing he will play for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
An audience that included students, coaches, faculty and former teammates made its preference clear with sporadic chants of “Canes” and “The U” – but Henry quelled the pro-Canes fervor by donning a Gamecocks cap.
“Miami’s season wasn’t much of a factor because I wasn’t on that team,” Henry said. “I remember North Carolina winning the national title and then going to the NIT the next season. I know a lot of people thought I was going to Miami but I had to do what was best for me.”
Henry cited the desire to play in the SEC and strong relationship he had developed with Gamecocks coach Frank Martin during the recruiting process as key factors in selecting South Carolina (14-18, 4-14 SEC last season). Martin, a Miami native who just completed his first season as Gamecocks coach, won two state titles as head coach at Miami High (1995 and 1999).
After Henry’s graduation from Northeast in 2012, when he was selected All-State first team (17.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg), he reclassified and played for Faith Baptist Christian School in Brandon, Fla., during the 2012-13 season.
Henry, who also held offers from Clemson, Cincinnati, Auburn, Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee and Illinois, among others, is lauded for a strong post-up game and ability to hit the mid-range shot.
“I think wherever Demetrius went he would have succeeded, but getting that extra boost from having that family-oriented approach at South Carolina will help him tremendously,” said Northeast coach Gerald Gillion. “Demetrius can play inside and out. He will be a tremendous asset for South Carolina.”