Freshman guard D.J. Henderson has quietly played a key role in the success of the RCGC men's basketball season this winter, a campaign that has seen the Roadrunners compile an impressive 27-3 overall record coupled with a Garden State Athletic Conference championship.
Now, with the Runners set to enter tonight's NJCAA Region XIX playoff tournament, Henderson said his team has two major goals on the horizon – win Region and National crowns. RCGC will open against visiting Montgomery County College, a first-round winner over Camden County, starting at 7:30 pm – and Henderson likes his team's chances under the direction of head coach Will Wareham.
"We have the players and the coaches to go very far," he said in a recent interview. "We have a group of players who are very unselfish, and I think the best coaching staff around. We just need to keep within our roles and we'll be fine."
While Wareham's team relies on the scoring talents of prolific forwards such as Ja'Zere Noel, Luciano Lubrano, and Stevynjaamad Hawkins, the Runners have also thrived offensively and defensively at the guard positions. That's where Henderson, a defensive specialist, and second-year man Tyler Lunsford have been brilliant this season.
Lunsford's ball-handling, scoring, and leadership skills have been perfect for this talented squad, while Henderson has averaged 8.6 points per game and a played tantalizing defense that disrupts opposing teams up and down the court, especially in the transition game.
The Runners defeated Montgomery 84-74 in a regular season contest in January, and Henderson said everyone is well prepared for a playoff match.
"It's always tougher in the playoffs – nothing comes easy," said Henderson, a former Lincoln High star in North Jersey. "We've had a lot of close games this year, so we're battle tested and ready to advance."
Tip off for tonight's game is 7:30 pm. The winner advances to the Region XIX Final Four at Brookdale Community College starting March 2. Follow all the action @RCGCAthletics.