El Camino Compton Center Tartars men’s basketball head coach Keith Higgins saw the benefits of having forward DaJion Henderson on his team.
“He came to see me play,” Henderson said, he was playing for Los Angeles Trade Tech at the time. “He was telling himself ‘if God bless me with a big man like that, then [the Tartars] would go far.’”
Little did Higgins know his prayers would soon be answered. Henderson, standing at 6’7” and 265lbs, was transferring to El Camino for his sophomore year.
Henderson’s contributions to the Tartars earned him a spot on the Tennessee State Tigers men’s basketball team this coming fall. His production on court did not only land him a scholarship, but ushered the Tartars to a dominant season.
With Henderson, El Camino Compton had a 27-5 overall record, leading the South Coast-South Conference with a 9-1 record.
Henderson started 28 of all 32 games he played, averaging 22.2 minutes. He shot at 53.7 percent from the field, ultimately averaging 10.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. The Tiger-to-be led the Tartars with 22 blocks during the season.
El Camino Compton led the state with 102.1 points per game during conference play and with 35.8 field goals made throughout the season. Henderson was one of three sophomore transfers, grouped up with seven returning sophomores and five freshmen.
“We have a lot of weapons,” he said. “Our coach knew we was a good team but it was our first time playing with each other.”
The Tartars were 4-0 in the summer showcase, but came in third place in the West Los Angeles Tournament in early December. El Camino Compton then stormed through to win the Compton Tartar Classic Tournament, beating teams by at least 10 points. They also clinched the 2017 Cheffey Challenge Tournament title.
Henderson was able to garner a relationship with the coaching staff at Tennessee State; he appreciated how they were concerned about him as a student as well as an athlete.
“I was getting so loved,” Henderson said. “They wasn’t just talking to me about basketball, they was talking to me about school and how the graduation rate is.”
Although he played football, Henderson resiliently willed himself into the world of basketball throughout his middle school years. Despite being constantly cut from teams, Henderson continued to tryout for basketball.
“Ninth grade, when I finally made it, I just fell in love with basketball and I stopped playing football,” Henderson said. “I just kept pushing myself to make the team sooner or later and I ended up making it.”
Henderson is an alum of Crenshaw high school, assisting the 2013-2014 varsity boys basketball team to a 11-16 record during his senior year.
“Our coach at Crenshaw, Ed Waters, he was always on us,” Henderson said. “We had a lot of talent on my senior year, we didn’t know how to put it together.”
Henderson plans to major in kinesiology at Tennessee State. The assistance of 2015-2016 assistant coach Tristan Taylor got him to El Camino Compton and helped him prepare to graduate.
“Our team was so fun, we have a lot of personalities,” Henderson said. “The experience being here is like family…like a second home.”