Lansing Eastern’s LaDontae Henton played in front Tom Izzo Tuesday night

Posted: December 16, 2009 by Jared Field in High School
Tags: ,

Lansing Eastern’s LaDontae Henton was a high-major recruit the second he stepped on the floor at Don Johnson Fieldhouse as a freshman.

He was big, strong and athletic for a freshman, but he was also older than the average 9th grader —  a finer point not often made about older players in younger grades.

Even though so many already had him penciled in as a five-star recruit, I always took the “not so fast” stance with Henton, because I’d never seen elite level athleticism out of him. To me, he always looked like a really good high school power forward at 6-foot-5.

I think basketball fans in Mid-Michigan, generally, expected Henton to be the second coming of Magic Johnson — the best player in Lansing since the 1970s or something.  That’s what the hype machine will do for you. It makes you a household name, sure, but at some point you have to live up to it.

Thus far, Henton has been a very good player at Eastern, but certainly not quite the phenom so many expected. That being said, high major programs like Michigan State are still going to be interested in Henton because of his size and his perceived ability to play a wing spot at some point, though the jury is still out on that point — I’ve seen him play it, but never really defend it.

I remember watching him last summer at an AAU tournament in which he was competing in a U-16 bracket with players at his grade level, but not at his age. I wondered aloud why a player of his size, strength and ability would be playing down a level. It didn’t make any sense to me.

In contrast, I remember watching Maurice Jones (Saginaw Arthur Hill), playing U-17 ball when he could have been playing U-15. Jones is probably the exception to the rule, however; he’s lived up to the huge expectations hoisted upon him as freshman.

From LSJ:

Eastern’s LaDontae Henton, a 6-foot-6 junior who is being recruited by several Division I colleges, scored six of his 17 points during the run.

Henton also scored seven points in the fourth quarter, including a steal and a dunk to end the game.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was watching the game from the stands.

“I try to play the same every game, no matter who’s watching me,” Henton said. “I’ve played a lot better (than tonight), but we got the win.”

  1. Gavin Raath says:

    Wasn’t he already offered division one scholarships?

  2. Jared Field says:

    Penn State and Utah are the only two I’m aware of.

  3. d says:

    ladontae has played with older players his whole life no one on the high school level can hold him whether his age, older or younger. he was winning games of 21 when he was 12 yrs old against grown men who all consider themselves to be good ball players

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