DP speaks with recruit Darien Nelson-Henry
Washington big man hopes to make an immediate impact for the Quakers
February 20, 2012, 11:46 pm · Updated February 22, 2012, 11:01 pm·
Jerome Allen might be losing four seniors at the end of this season, most notably Zack Rosen, but on the bright side, he will pick up several solid recruits. The Daily Pennsylvanian recently talked with one of the players who will come to Penn to rock the Palestra next year: Darien Nelson-Henry.
The Quakers hope the 6-foot-10, 265-pound center will be a force under the rim. Nelson-Henry committed to Penn in September, foregoing scholarship offers from Boise State and Gonzaga. The Kirkland, Wash., native was also courted by and considered Washington State and Gonzaga. Nelson-Henry plays for Lake Washington High, and ESPN ranked him as the sixth-best recruit from his state, noting he “run[s] well for a prospect his size,” and he “has terrific hands.”
Daily Pennsylvanian: What made you pick Penn?
Darien Nelson-Henry: It was really the environment over there. I knew that there was a value in getting an Ivy League education … It really sold me when I went [to Penn] for my visit.
[Note: Nelson-Henry committed less than two weeks after he visited Philadelphia.]
DP: Is there something you liked about Jerome Allen’s style?
DNH: Yeah … He kind of reminds me of the coaching staff I have now at my high school. I’m just really comfortable with him and … I could tell he was intense and he knew what he was talking about. So I was confident that he knew what he was doing and I know he has confidence in me.
DP: What are your expectations for next season?
DNH: Well, hopefully I can come in and get some playing time right away and be able to contribute to the team immediately. I know that there are upperclassmen that have worked more and have been there longer, and they have been playing college basketball for longer, but I think I can contribute my first year there and I think I should be able to help them out immediately.
DP: *Some people have said Penn is missing is a big man. Do you think you’ll be able to step up and put a body on players like Harvard’s Kyle Casey or Princeton’s Ian Hummer?
DNH: Yeah. I’ve played against a lot of top competition in the country … I’ve played against all the top-ranked bigs across the country, so there’s no doubt in my mind that I can step in and at least put up resistance against the top big guys in the Ivy League.
DP: What was the most inspiring moment in your career thus far?
DNH: I’d say probably the most inspiring moment that I’ve had so far was actually just a couple weeks ago [when] we won the [King County] Championship and it’s been a goal my team has had since I was a sophomore. I’ve been playing with the same guys since fifth or sixth grade, so it feels good my senior year to finally wrap this all up and show we’re the best team on the east side of the water.