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Scoot Henderson not doing anything halfway heading toward NBA draft

SALT LAKE CITY — Scoot Henderson doesn’t do anything halfway.

It’s epitomized by his motto, O.D.D — Overly Determined to Dominate. More than simply his maxim, he wants to dominate that phrase, too — he filed to trademark it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

“O.D.D., it’s a moto, like slogan kind of thing. It means overly determined to dominate…" Henderson said during All-Star Weekend, when he was back at the Rising Stars Challenge for a second time as well as the G-League Next Up game. “And I just came up with that based off how I look at life and how I look at, you know, the game of basketball. And how everybody should really just dominate their day and you know, maximize it.”

Scoot Henderson is trying to maximize his time in the run-up to this June’s NBA draft, where he is the presumptive No.2 pick (behind Victor Wembanyama). In many drafts — including last year — Henderson would have gone No.1, with scouts using comparisons to Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose or John Wall to describe his athleticism and potential impact.

Henderson showed that as a captain in the G-League Next Up Game in Salt Lake City, where he had 19 points and six assists.

“I’m just ready. I’m trying to prepare myself for the next level,” Henderson said. “I feel right there.”

Henderson has continued cementing his standing among scouts and GMs this season, averaging 17.7 points a game with the G-League Ignite in the regular season, while coming back from a nasal fracture and concussion. When you throw in Showcase Cup and exhibition games, he’s got more than eight games of 20+ points, all for a player who just turned 19 in February. He is an elite athlete, an explosive finisher with a diverse scoring package, plus he has an impressive feel for the game and is a willing passer.

Some parts of his game need polish — he’s shooting 28% from 3, although his form is solid — but beyond the mechanics of the game, Henderson is also focused on being more of a leader. He sees that as part of his role at the next level.

“I think it just being consistent with my shot making and just being consistent as a talker, as a communicator on the floor and as a leader,” Henderson said of what he is working on heading into the draft. “I think that those are big things.”

For him, that also means diving into film study, something he has worked on with his coaches at the Ignite. Is film study something he enjoys?

“I think I think I do. Just know that’s something that a leader should do and they should know their stuff,” Henderson said. “So I think that’s something I did with my Ignite team. And that’s where I grew from last year to this year.”

That film study will bleed over into his preparation for the draft — he will be ready no matter who takes him.

“I’m gonna go in the offseason, study sets of a few NBA teams, and if I get drafted, I’m gonna start studying right then and there, just to make my head get in that space of just knowing the program,” Henderson said.

At times there are reminders he’s still a 19-year-old, one who just recently discovered the Harry Potter movies and is now playing a lot of “Hogwarts Legacy” on his PS5 (with some Madden and COD mixed in). It’s difficult for someone that age not to let his mind wander to dreams of what it would be like to take the court with certain teams or players, particularly ones potentially high in the draft lottery.

“I definitely think about like playing with those guys, or, like just playing around in my head [with it],” Henderson said. “Just like with my family, we just talked about… l like the Raptors, going up playing with like Scotty [Barnes] or stuff… Or like the Rockets and they got a young core, and the Spurs. So I definitely just think about it.

“But I don’t think I’d take it into serious like consideration because I really don’t know. I just try to control what I control.”

What he can control is working on his game and his personal brand — the second part of that is not something he said came naturally to him. He wants to make an impact — that’s why he already has started an AAU team for boys and girls — but he’s watched how the biggest players in the game, like LeBron James or Kevin Durant have crafted their brands. He’s learning from them, too.

“The more you could put your face out there, the better it is for you and your friends….” Henderson said. “That’s something I definitely had to go grow into. I never, you know, wanted like cameras and stuff like that. I was never a big fan of that but that was pretty cool now that it helps me.”

That brand will get much bigger come June when he gets drafted into the NBA.

Wherever he lands, he’s bringing his O.D.D. mindset with him.