Any time the Bucks travel to Orlando, it provides forward John Henson an opportunity to spend time with his family.
The schedule broke just right for him this year that one of Milwaukee’s two trips to Central Florida this season came during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Henson’s family lives about 90 miles away in Tampa, so the timing and location worked out perfectly.
Timing is perhaps the biggest asset Henson provides in Milwaukee, as his ability to determine when an opponent is going to release a shot has transformed him into one of the most potent shot blockers in the league.
Last season, the 6-foot-10 forward posted the highest block rate during the course of 48 minutes, swatting an average of 5.3 shots a night.
A sore Achilles forced Henson to sit out four of the first five games this season for the Bucks, but he has still shown his ability to defend the rim.
Prior to Friday’s game against the Magic, Henson sat down with Shatter the Glass to discuss his Thanksgiving holiday, the difficulty of scoring against Milwaukee’s size, the addition of Greg Monroe and much more.
How was your Thanksgiving? For you personally, the schedule worked out so you can be close to your family, so how was that?
It was, I got to see my whole family. They came down and we had dinner. (Henson’s high school) Sickles has a game out here, so I’m heading out to that game and one of my good friends coaches Oldsmar Prep, so I invited him, too, so it’s been a nice trip so far.
So were you in Tampa or Orlando for Thanksgiving?
I was here (in Orlando) because we got in a little late, I wish I could have went home.
When the dinner came out last night, what was the first plate you were reaching for?
HoneyBaked Ham, that’s my favorite.
Did your family do the cooking, or did you guys go out to eat?
Actually, we were at the restaurant at the hotel. They had a Thanksgiving themed menu, with all of the turkey, the ham and all the side dishes. No one in my family had to do all of the cooking, so it worked out for the best.
Did you have a chance to watch football?
I didn’t get a chance to see much because we were traveling. I caught the end of the Packers and Bears game, but I really didn’t watch it that much.
This team is one of the biggest teams in the league, how does your size present challenges for opponents each night?
It’s great, it allows you to cover up for defensive mistakes a little better. Offensively, it helps us with rebounding. When you are doing the right thing, it’s hard to play against us. That’s what we want to do.
How has the addition of Greg Monroe complemented your game?
It takes the pressure off our team offensively. Anytime you are in trouble, you can always dump it down there into him and get a good shot. That’s what he is here for, he’s a double-double machine and we are happy to have him here. To have a player of that caliber choose to come here is pretty special, and we’re happy to keep him here for a very long time.
So if you weren’t watching football, I’m sure you were studying up on your upcoming opponents. How much time do you spend watching film?
It depends, if you have a back-to-back, you have to focus on the team you are playing that night and it’s a little tougher. If you have a day or two of practice, you can focus on their tendencies and we got to do that a little bit. We didn’t have to practice on Thanksgiving, but for tonight’s game, I’m very familiar with the Magic and their players. It’s just a matter of knowing your players tendencies.
How much of their tendencies can you pick up during film sessions and how can you apply that during in-game situations?
It’s really just a little bit of everything. You know when they tend to duck in or put up pump fakes, the shots they like, things of that nature. You just have to try and make them do things that he doesn’t like. If he makes it, then you live with it, that’s how we play defense.
How does knowing someone help you defend them?
This is my fourth year, so it comes to a point and time where I’ve played against every player once or twice, so I kind of know what they want to do, the responsibility is on me to stop it.