Wallace Community College small forward Courtland Henry offers instruction to students at the PAL Center. Henry spends afternoons with players teaching and mentoring. -- Chris Wasson

Henry uses offseason to pass on knowledge

Published 9:47pm Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Courtland Henry could spend his offseason afternoons like any other college basketball player.

He could sit at home playing video games, hang out with friends, or anything else that seems fun when you’re 19.

Instead, he spends his afternoon in a hot gym surrounded by more than 20 players, teaching and being a role model for kids who come to stay off the street.

“When I’m in school, I have people like (president) Dr. (James) Mitchell or our coach that always have an answer to whatever questions we have,” Henry said. “They teach us life lessons, that is their first priority, even over basketball. That’s what I want to bring to my players here.”

Henry, a small forward at Wallace Community College has always had a connection with the Police Athletic League Or PALS Center.

He began playing at the center when he was just 8-years-old after moving from Denver, Colo.

He grew up playing at the center, staying out of trouble, in the books and trying to learn so he could teach.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a coach,” Henry said. “Now that I’m playing at Wallace I’m able to take all of these new drills that we learn and apply them at the PALS Center. I’m still in the learning process too and we get to learn together.”

It’s not just the court that Henry works at, though.

He learned early in life that basketball won’t always take you as high as you want to go, and works hard to keep his grades up and encourages his teammates to do the same, according to his coach Ronald Lane.

“The thing that impresses you the most about Courtland is at a young age he is such a hard worker,” Lane said. “He’ll get on guys about study hall and showing up to workouts. He encourages them to take their books on road trips with them so they can keep up with their school work.”

Henry also makes sure his players study as much as he does.

“We make them bring their report cards to us each period and if they have anything lower than a B in a subject we get on to them,” said Henry. “But if we see that, we help them. We try to make them understand basketball might not always be there, but you can always study hard.”

Lane said he is always impressed by the maturity that is shown by Henry at such a young age, especially during a car wash benefiting PALS.

“He basically ran it,” Lane said. “They trusted him with all of the money and he was the boss. I think that speaks to a young person’s character when they are shown that kind of trust so young. I’m just proud to be able to coach and mentor him.”

Coutland Henry could be your average college athlete, but he’s not.

He’s so much more.

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