Former Duke basketball star Phil Henderson died at his home in the Philippines Sunday of a reported cardiac arrest. He was 44 years old.
Henderson, a 6-foot-5 guard who made three NCAA Final Four appearances in his time at Duke from 1986 to 1990, was the captain and leading scorer of the 1990 Final Four team.
“We’re so sad about his passing,” Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “[I] talked to his mom this morning. He’s a good guy, very talented player.”
Henderson is one of 60 Blue Devils to finish his career with more than 1,000 points, currently ranking 33rd in program history with 1,397. Henderson also recorded 330 rebounds and 217 assists.
Perhaps the play he is remembered for most is a dunk he performed over Georgetown’s Alonzo Mourning in the second round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament. The dunk ranks fourth on the most memorable dunks in Duke’s history according to The Encyclopedia of Duke Basketball.
The two-year starter—who recorded 21 points and six rebounds in a 30-point loss to UNLV in the 1990 National Championship game—is survived by five children: Genesis, 21; Harrison, 15; Adonia, 6; Athaila, 5; and Azriel, 4.
Henderson was a McDonald’s All-American team member from Crete-Monee, a high school in Illinois. In high school, as in college, Henderson was a threat on both sides of the ball, using his length to pick up rebounds, blocks and steals in addition to points. Henderson averaged 21.8 points in his senior year of high school and went on to average 18.5 points per game in the 1990 Final Four season.
“[Phil was a] gentle person, real gentle person and had a lot of talent,” Krzyzewski said. “Everyone in our basketball family certainly is mourning his passing. A lot of teammates out there that are expressing that, I know on Twitter, have already expressed things to our office.”
Blue Devils sound off on Henderson:
“Sad to hear about the passing of Phil Henderson. I was blessed to have him as a teammate. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family,”—Former Duke teammate Bobby Hurley, who played with Henderson in the 1990 season.
“Very sad news about the death of Phil Henderson... Great player, and even better person. #RIP #DukeLegend,”—Grant Hill, who began his Duke career the year after Henderson graduated.
“RIP Phil Henderson. Thoughts and prayers to all his family and friends,”—Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski