New Boise State hoops assistant Henderson settles in with Broncos

Danny Henderson

Danny Henderson had a good thing going in Texas, where he won more than 700 games and four state titles in 25 seasons as a high school head coach.
But when Boise State men’s basketball coach Leon Rice came calling soon after assistant Dave Wojcik left to coach San Jose State on March 30, Henderson jumped at the chance to fill an assistant’s role. His hiring was announced April 19.
“When I saw his team practice, it was one of the best practices I’ve seen in 25 years of recruiting,” Rice told the Idaho Statesman last week. “I was immediately intrigued and thought he’d be a good fit.”
Henderson sat down with the Statesman last week for a Q&A session. Here are the highlights of that conversation.
Q: How did you know the Boise State staff?
A: I coached (Oklahoma State guards) Marcus Smart and Phil Forte in high school. (Boise State assistant) Jeff Linder was the first Division I coach to recruit Phil. Then I soon met Leon, and we hit it off. We stayed in touch, and I came up to Boise in October. I’ve gone to Indiana, places like that, and I wanted to see Boise State. I could tell we’d mesh, but of course had no idea it’d lead to a job.
Q: What was that conversation like?
A: Leon said he wanted to think outside the box, me being a high school guy and all, but it’s something I’d always wanted to do, to coach in college. It was just the right time. He flew us up here, and you want to do what’s best for your family — my wife, after about 30 minutes, said “let’s do this.”
Q: Why Boise State, and why move to college now?
A: I’d had other collegiate opportunities, but I shared a lot of the same philosophies as the guys here, how to treat kids, things like that. I’m past the need of wanting to prove myself as a head coach, but right now, I knew if I didn’t take this chance, I’d regret it. I had to take a stab at it. My entry level job in college is at Boise State, with Leon Rice, with a potentially ranked team, in this city? I’m overwhelmingly fortunate.
Q: What strengths will you bring?
A: I obviously have a lot of connections in Texas, I know many, many coaches and know there are so many great players there. I’m a rookie at recruiting, but I’m confident — Leon and I were able to get six high-quality home visits with kids from the class of 2014. Now we’ve got to reel them in.
Q: You have a reputation as a strong defensive coach, and that’s a point of emphasis for Rice this upcoming season.
A: I think that was part of the equation, kind of wanting to bring me on as the defensive coordinator, so to speak. I love both sides of the ball, but if you made me pick, I’d take defense.
Q: What have the biggest changes been so far?
A: I’d say recruiting, that’s definitely different. I’m just getting to know the guys — they’ve welcomed me with open arms and they’ve been fantastic. They’re all great guys, and that’s not always the case. I’ve coached some knuckleheads in my time, and this is a good group. I’ve watched every game multiple times, and I’m excited to work with them. I’ve got to do more paperwork than ever, that’s different. I’ve been living out of a hotel, but I get my family up here (in early June), my wife, my daughter Maddie is 15 and my daughter Sophie is 9. I’m proud of (Maddie) how she’s handled it, having to leave friends behind. I showed (Sophie) a video of snowboarding, and that sold her.
Q: What are your goals for your first season?
A: We’ll establish our team goals as a staff, but talking to the kids, they’re excited. They know we have the chance to do some special things and be really good. We can shoot the ball with anyone in the country. What we do offensively is cutting edge, very European, very hard to guard. Now, if we can become a great defensive team, take the next step, then the sky’s the limit.

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