After a recent Milwaukee Bucks-Los Angeles Clippers game, I chatted with a couple of the folks from ClipperBlog that I got to know last summer at the Las Vegas Summer League, Andrew Han and Seerat Sohi. One of the centerpieces to our Vegas friendship was John Henson, Milwaukee’s second year power forward/center who made something of a mockery of the summer league. He was far superior to the majority of his competitors and ended up making the All-Summer League team behind 14.7 points and 13.7 rebounds per game.
The ClipperBlog contingent was quite taken with him. So when I went on their post game show weeks back, he was quickly a topic of conversation. But at some point, Andrew commented on him being a lefty. I had to interject and let him know that Henson was actually right-handed.
He was in disbelief. It’s difficult to blame him.
John Henson insists that he’s right-handed. But the evidence continues to point across his body when looking for his dominant hand. Take this Vine KL posted a couple weeks ago:
I’ve never seen a right handed player go more out of his way to avoid using his right hand. First, I asked Larry Drew about the play in question. Drew smiled as I described the play above, as if he knew exactly what play I was describing, before he began to answer a question about the sequence.
“When teams play against John, I mean, they scout him, they know what his favorite move is, the side of the floor he wants the basketball and which way he’s going to go,” Drew said. “Everybody knows John, which side he really favors. Teams are going to try to take it away. He’s going to have to really develop coming back the other way.”
The focus the team has with Henson is developing that right hand.
“Worked with him this summer, worked with him all season,” Drew said about his right. “You’ve got to understand, you’ve got to know how teams are playing you. You’ve got to have a counter. I don’t care which block you like, you’ve got to be able to show that you can go back the other way.”
So how did Henson become so … not ambidextrous, but still kind of ambidextrous in a weird way? There’s no fascinating backstory. He didn’t break his right hand and spend hours dedicating to his left. So he says at least.
“Just over time I gradually used it. Eighth grade I probably started and it caught on.”
And now, he works on his right hand. He wants to “get it right” he says. Word play. So will Henson take the drastic step of switching hands, ala Tristan Thompson this last off season?
“Nah,” he says casually before almost immediately backing off and then unbacking off. “Maybe. We’ll see this summer. Maybe this summer we’ll look at it, but most likely I’ll stick with the normal way.”
The normal way. For John Henson, I’m not sure there is such a thing.