Terry Henderson wasn’t sure where he was going to play basketball this season.
He couldn’t go back to N.C. State, and he wasn’t able to work out a deal to play in Europe.
“I just kept telling myself it’s a process and you have to stay patient,” Henderson said.
Then the Charlotte Hornets called Henderson’s agent, Eric Fleisher, and invited the 6-5, 190-pound shooting guard from Raleigh to training camp.
He left for Charlotte last week and has been staying in a hotel across from the Spectrum Center in preparation for the start of training camp on Sept. 26.
The odds are against Henderson, who went undrafted after a complicated exit from N.C. State in May, making the Hornets’ final 15-man roster, but he will get a chance to play in the preseason, and he could make the Hornets’ affiliate in Greensboro in the developmental G League.
“I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity,” Henderson said. “All I want to do is make the most of it.”
Henderson, N.C. State’s second-leading scorer last season, had tried to get a sixth-year waiver from the NCAA to play for the Wolfpack this season, but it was denied in late May.
Henderson, who averaged 13.8 points per game and led N.C. State in 3-pointers (78) last season, had been practicing and working out with the Wolfpack and trying to learn new coach Kevin Keatts’ system before the NCAA news came back.
The NCAA decision also came late in the draft preparation process, and Henderson didn’t have a chance to line up any workouts with NBA teams. Former N.C. State guard Dennis Smith Jr., who went in the draft lottery to the Dallas Mavericks, invited Henderson work out at his pro day.
“Dennis looked out for me,” Henderson said. “That was pretty much it. That was the only workout I had in front of anybody (from the NBA).”
Fleisher, who also represents former N.C. State players Ben McCauley and Jordan Vandenberg, had tried to find Henderson a spot to play overseas.
“There were a few teams that showed some interest, but we were never able to get a deal done,” Henderson said.
After N.C. State finished the 2016-17 season, Henderson honestly thought he would be back in college for another year. Henderson, 23, began his career at West Virginia and transferred after two years. He sat out a year and then his redshirt junior season lasted 7 minutes in 2015-16 with N.C. State. He tore ligaments in his right ankle early in the first game of that season and didn’t play again until the 2016-17 season.
The NCAA usually only grants a sixth year of eligibility for players who miss two years with injuries. Henderson had only missed the one.
When the NCAA didn’t grant Henderson the waiver, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He graduated from N.C. State in December but wasn’t quite ready to give up on basketball.
He kept working out at N.C. State and at the Garner Road AAU program’s gym near downtown Raleigh. He also took a trip out to Phoenix this summer to work out with former N.C. State star T.J. Warren, his former teammate at Garner Road.
“I worked out every day and just tried to stay in shape,” Henderson said.
And then the Hornets called and now Henderson’s ready for his next shot.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio