By halftime of North Carolina's win over Long Island, John Henson had already surpassed his career high in points. When the final buzzer sounded, the sophomore had put up 28 and 11. And, as always, he had a big smile on his face.
It's always there, the smile. Up the court, down the court, on the bench, wherever.
"It's not a regular smile — it's the cheesiest smile," UNC's Leslie McDonald told The Daily Tarheel. "I tell him his head is already small so his smile takes up all his head."
Henson smiles so much that he kept grinning even after making one of the most embarrassing plays of the tournaments:
Henson spoke to reporters about the fall after the game.
"When I dunked the first one my fingers were slipping and I could kind of feel me coming down," he said. "I was fortunate that I caught my ground because that could have been bad. It comes with it when you dunk."
Still, he got right up, flashed a grin and went right back down the court.
(Can't help but notice that it looks like he fell on his posterior. One could only wonder what appraisal value Gus Johnson would have given it.)
If the Tar Heels are to make a deep run in this tournament, it could be because of the sudden offensive prowess of the six-foot-10 forward. In the past few weeks, Henson has been aggressive inside and drawing defenders who help him get to the free-throw line (where he's also improved). All of this helps free up Harrison Barnes on the wing. Suddenly, a Carolina team that was improving throughout the ACC season is getting better.
And John Henson is there with a smile. And perhaps a slightly bruised ego and tailbone.