As February nears, we are still getting to learn the pool of prospects in what looks to be a top-heavy 2023 NBA Draft as the season progresses. One name that has been in the spotlight since he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a junior in high school is 18-year-old phenom Scoot Henderson. Henderson is a Georgia native who went to Kell High School and skipped his senior of high school to become the youngest player to ever play in the G-League at 17 years of age. His game has only continued to grow in his second year playing for the NBA G-League Ignite.
In his first season, Henderson impressed as a mere teenager against adults averaging 14 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He shot 43% from the field and struggled from distance, shooting 17% from three in 11 games. However, Henderson has only continued to elevate his game to a new level in his second season, averaging 19.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.3 steals.
He’s improved his shooting efficiency from the field (48%) and beyond the arc (28%). In October the Ignite had a pair of scrimmages against the Metropolitans 92s that featured the 7-foot-4 mega-prospect Victor Wenbayama. In the second game Henderson, unfortunately, collided knees with Wenbayama on a Wenbayama drive which ultimately put a damper on the fanfare of the second matchup of the two highly acclaimed prospects.
But, Henderson showed more than enough in the first game of why he’s considered by most NBA Draft pundits as a lock to go No.2 in the 2023 NBA Draft, scoring 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting and 3-of-4 from three while also grabbing five rebounds, dishing out nine assists and swiping for two steals.
Henderson was scoring in an array of ways, whether it was finishing over a giant like Wenbayama with acrobatic finishes at the rim, hitting stepback threes, or powering it home in transition displaying that uber-athleticism of his. The poise and control at which he plays despite how dynamite he is as an athlete is unparalleled for someone who is just 18 years old and still has a lot to learn about the game.
Henderson has been garnering lofty praise from NBA GMs and scouts, comparing him to former explosive star guards of the past such as Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, and even current Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant. He's perhaps the best guard prospect since Luka Doncic back in 2018, yes that includes guards such as Morant, Cade Cunningham, Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, Jalen Green, and so forth, and perhaps the best small guard prospect under 6’5 of the last decade according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.
Henderson plays with emphasis and a fiery drive every time he steps on the court to prove that he’s the best. At 6-foot-2 and boasting a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Henderson has an electric first step and an ability to switch speeds that gets defenders off-balanced and has a great knack at contorting his body prior to elevating in the air with that chiseled frame of his to finish through or around contact.
In almost any draft of the last half-decade, many draft pundits and scouts believe Henderson would be the No.1 overall pick, but with a French “Alien” in Wenbayama eligible for this year's draft he’s penciled in on most scouts' boards at No.2.
Henderson should be an immediate impact player from the jump upon his arrival in the NBA after dominating grown men in the G-League for two seasons and gaining the necessary professional reps needed prior to his NBA arrival. He has the potential, talent, and drive to be an MVP, All-NBA caliber player, and the next great NBA guard. The world is his to capture.