ITH Super Happy Fun Time Top 10 List: Alan Henderson

  • 08/05/2008 8:00 am in

alanhenderson2.jpgThe ballots have been counted and it’s time for Inside the Hall’s countdown of the greatest Indiana players of all-time. Today: No. 10: Alan Henderson.

Years at Indiana: 1991-1995

The numbers:  1979 points (16.1 career average), 1091 rebounds (8.8 career average), 213 blocks, 148 steals, 54% from the field

Career highs: 41 points (March 9, 1994 at Michigan State); 28 rebounds (January 4, 1992 vs. Cincinnati); 6 blocks (March 1, 1992)

Notable achievements: 49 career double-doubles; sixth all-time leading scorer; leading rebounder in school history; All-American (1995); First team All-Big Ten (1995); Indiana Hall of Fame (2006 inductee); Indiana team MVP (1994 and 1995); 1992 Final Four

The case for Henderson: The numbers don’t lie: Henderson left Indiana as the only player in school history to rank in the top five in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and steals. He played a key role in IU’s Final Four run in 1992 and helped lead the Hoosiers to a Big Ten title and the Elite Eight as a sophomore.

Filed to:

  • nchoosier

    a little surprised to see him all the way down at #10. as far as favorites go, he's my #3, so maybe i'm too biased.

  • Nice write up, looking forward to the next 9!

  • It's also important to note that it was Alan's knee that played a large part in Indiana not winning the 1993 National Championship. In Cheaney and Graham's senior year, Indiana entered the tournament ranked number one, but were eventually ousted by Kansas and their dominating front line. Henderson, who had blown his ACL two weeks prior to the tournament, was sorely missed, especially against Kansas' bigs. With no viable second option, Matt Nover could be doubled in the post and consistently boxed out. On the other end, there was not enough defensive pressure to stop the Kansas bigs, and as the game wore on, Kansas continued to grind down low. Granted, there's no guarantee that Indiana would have won the game with Henderson, but they definitely sorely missed him in that particular game.

    Incidentally, had Indiana won, it would have been the first time, fifteen years prior to the “landmark” event seen in this Final Four, that all four number one seeds advanced to the Final Four.

  • MPmike

    Alan Henderson was one of the greatest players to ever put on the Indiana University uniform. He also was one of the greatest all- time Indiana High School players that came out of Indianapolis. I would ranked him just outside the top 5. Maybe six or seven.

  • hoosier07

    this was such a great idea by the guys behind ITH!!

    ditto HoosierGirl; can't wait for the next 9 players

  • IUBo

    To go along with the other comments, Alan Henderson at #10 is far too low. Talent-wise, he is without a doubt the best power forward to play at IU outside of George McGinnis. As far as contribution to the program, production, and WINS, he stands alone. Let's not forget Alan Henderson's academic achievements either. He was a model student athlete.

    I am intrigued by the rest of the list, but I imagine this will be the only true PF we see in the rankings.

  • Good point. It wasn't just that he was a good student, he was a good student in tough classes. I've seen non-athletes struggle in scientific classes aplenty. I can't believe that I forgot to mention that, but then, I did sort of focus on his knee…

  • JerryCT

    Actually I think you are too smart. Anyone who left him out of the top 10 should have their list confiscated and then shredded

  • and i've hated Kansas ever since…

    anyone else still get that empty feeling not seeing a sixth banner that says “1993” on it at Assembly Hall?

  • transplantedhoosier

    I'm a little disappointed that Henderson ended up this low, too. I think Henderson was always overshadowed by other players on the team (Cheaney and Graham his first three years, Bailey his senior year) and perhaps underappreciated at times due to his rather unassuming demeanor. To use a Bilas term (I apologize in advance), he was the “glue guy” on some great teams. I think everyone has hit the nail on the head when they talk about Henderson's absence likely leading to IU's loss to Kansas in the 1993 Tourney. I'll never forget the clutch block he had against Michigan in Ann Arbor to seal a one point win against the Fab Five. His all-around game, attitude, and role as a student athlete ranks him as one of the top 5 Hoosiers during my lifetime (I can't comment on guys like McInnis, Benson, Buckner, the Van Arsdales, or May). One could also argue that he had a better pro career than anyone from the Knight era but Isiah Thomas. All in all, Henderson was a great Hoosier that deserves all the recognition he receives.

  • flahoosier

    probably the most underrated Hoosier…not to mention he probably had the most successful pro career of any hoosier lately, maybe Cheney but its definitely debatable

  • nealE

    Alan Henderson is great for one more reason – he is a graduate of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, the greatest high school in the history of the universe.

  • One thing to keep in mind as the list is revealed: All of these guys are great players. We're really all splitting hairs in the rankings, but the fact that these guys are thought of as top 10 players in the history of the greatest program ever in college basketball is truly special. There's always going to be debate that “this guy should be higher than this guy,” but you can't go wrong with any of these names.

  • BFowler

    There are several great reasons to love Alan. I loved that whole '93 team, and the starting lineup was all Indiana Kids: Damon Bailey, Heltonville, Greg Graham, Indianapolis, Calbert Cheaney, Evansville, (who should be IU's third assistant, but I digress), Alan Henderson, Indianapolis, and Matt Nover, Chesterton. That does not even include Todd Leary, Indianapolis and Pat Graham, Floyds Knobs, (and of course Bob Knight's favorite all time Indiana player, Patrick, Bloomington). Great team.

  • RGH

    I remember reading an article where Dean Smith stated that he was a little upset that they didn't get to play IU with Henderson that year because we were by far the best team in the country with Henderson.

    Life goes on…

    I wonder how that would have changed IU history if IU won the championship that year?

  • outanames

    If you go by IU career alone, guys like McGinnis,and I. Thomas, who left early,and others who had to sit out their freshman year will not compare well with 4-yr. players looking at IU statistics only. One also has to take into effect when the shot clock and 3-pt. shot came into vogue. That's why I looked at the greatest players who had careers beyond IU. The pro game is an equalizer that can't be overlooked. On that basis, 10th is about right for Henderson.


    Alan Henderson was a real gem.
    I remember the day he announced his decision to come to IU over Duke.
    You can only hope to recruit a person like #44.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I had Henderson 8 on my list, and thought about placing him higher. He was a great player, one of my favorites. Had he not gotten injured, Indiana had a great shot at winning the title when they went in to the tournament as a No. 1 seed.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Very true….very true…

    I just hope we see another kid at Indiana VERY SOON who can rival these Top 10 players. Unfortunately, in the era of “one and done” it might never happen that we see guys like Henderson again.

  • BornRed

    Alan might be my all-time favorite. I was around 6 or 7 when I started truely paying attention to the Hoosiers, especially that 93 team, so I grew up with #44 as my favorite player in my formitive years. Later on I went to Alan's youth basketball camp at Brebeuf every year I was eligible and got to meet him. He was a great guy and did an outstanding job with the kids. To this day, I cherish my autographed #44s in crimson and Atlanta Hawks black.

  • sirkev

    I get that same empty feeling thinking about 1992 and that game against Duke. I've never been one to complain alot about officiating, but when you hold Laittner to a career low, out shoot, out rebound, have more assists and fewer turnovers than your opponent, you should win. But it didn't happen because the refs tried (almost succeeded) in fouling out our starting lineup in the 1st half!
    I've hated Duke, Billy Packer and his condescending remarks, and certain refs ever since then.

    Grrr. Still mad I was deprived of my fountain celebration 🙁

  • B_MD

    An interesting debate on the original post asking for peoples Top 10 seemed to be Alan Henderson vs. DJ White.

    Personally I will be surprised if White is ranked higher than Henderson. Both had injuries, but I think Henderson was just better and more consistent over his time at IU. You could argue that Henderson had better teammates which made things easier for him.

    My opinion is that people are letting the recent feeling for DJ cloud their judgment on this one. I love DJ, but don't think he was quite as good as Henderson. Just curious about what others think?

  • flahoosier

    I don't think White is in the top 25. he had 1 great year and 1 good year. just because he was the only player that seemed to give a crap last year does not make him one of the best players ever

  • B_MD

    I agree with you, but there were a decent number of posters that had White either higher than Henderson on their top 10 or had White there and didn't even had Henderson listed. It just seemed odd to me that a decent number thought White was either better and/or had a better career at IU. I think DJ is a great Hoosier and thank him for his maturity last year, but he's not better than Henderson was.

    I also realize that there was a grey area in that some people listed who were their favorite 10 and some listed the intended who they thought were the best 10.


    Alan Henderson was a real gem.
    I remember the day he chose IU over Duke.
    A program is lucky to have a player of his abilites play for four years.

  • MPmike

    No disrespect to D.J. White, but he doesn't even come close to Alan Henderson and his achievements at IU. If Henderson did not get that ACL, IU would have probably won another NCAA Championship and Alan would never had miss a beat after his brillant Freshman year in which IU should had beat Duke in the Final Four in 1992. IU should had at least one championship. I'm a D.J. White fan but Alan Henderson was much better. D.J. being a Top 50 player of ALL-time- yes, maybe Top 40, but not Top 10.

  • B_MD

    I totally agree. It's not about knocking DJ, it's about just how good Alan Henderson really was.

  • BGleas

    I totally agree. It's not about knocking DJ, it's about just how good Alan Henderson really was.