Jordan Henriquez knows the night will be emotional.
He says, “I’ve been emotional on my teammate’s Senior Nights, so I know it’s going to be bad for me.”
While saying, “I’m not ready for it to end,” the K-State days for Henriquez are nearing the end.
When K-State plays Texas Tech Monday night at 6 p.m., it will be his next to last game played in Bramlage Coliseum as his Senior Night happens the following Tuesday, March 5, against TCU.
That’s when he, along with seniors Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder, will say their good-byes to Bramlage Coliseum. Collectively, the trio has been a part of 96 Wildcat victories, which ties them for the senior class record of Victor Ojeleye and Jamar Samuels set last year with 96.
“I wouldn’t do anything differently,” said Henriquez, who will graduate in May with a Social Science degree, but may return to get a teaching certificate. “I’ve had a great time and I’ve received a great education. It seems only months ago that I walked onto this campus having no idea of where I really was or what I was getting into, but I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been great.”
To be honest, Henriquez, who played his prep basketball at Rice High School and Port Chester High School in New York, before attending The Winchendon Prep School in Massachusetts, has been a bit of an enigma on the basketball floor.
Hyped at the time as only the sixth 7-footer in K-State history, Henriquez, who is now listed at 6-11, had to mature physically, plus enhance his basketball IQ.
He played in 27 games as a freshman, and even started five of those, when he averaged 2.1 points per game. The lack of bulk, toughness and strength continued to slow his progress as a sophomore in 2010-11 when he averaged 3.7 points.
It wasn’t until last year that Henriquez developed a game when he started 14 of KSU’s 32 games and averaged 7.6 points on 54 percent shooting, snagged 5.6 rebounds, plus blocked a school-record 77 shots.
It was in the last six of those games that Henriquez scored between 14 and 22 points in five games, which included two double-doubles. One of those came against Baylor with a career-high 22 points and 14 rebounds, and then he ended the year against Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament when he tallied 14 points and snared an all-time high 17 rebounds.
“I just started being aggressive and got into a comfort zone,” reflected Henriquez, who earned a spot on the Big 12’s All-Defensive team due to his school record 77 blocked shots. “The game really seemed easy.”
This year, the game returned to being hard. Henriquez averages have slipped to 4.6 points and 4.5 rebounds. While he recently had a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double against Baylor, he’s had 12 games of no more than four points.
“My consistency has really hurt me. It’s (consistency) what I had the last month of the season last year, but I’ve lost it this year. I can’t tell you why,” said Henriquez, whose 196 blocked shots is a career record and 75 more than second-place Manny Dies with 121. “I’m thrilled how the team is playing, but I’m not pleased at all with how I’ve played.
“It’s not about new coaches or a new system … it’s all on me,” emphasized Henriquez. “I have no excuses. I just haven’t done the job. I haven’t played like I showed I could play last year, but there’s still time.”
The memory of those final half-dozen games last year keeps his dream alive of playing in the NBA. “I’m definitely not finished with basketball,” he says. “I want to keep playing.”