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You Tube Gold: Phil Henderson’s Finest Moment As A Blue Devil

31 years later, this still resonates

NCAA Photos Archive
Phil Henderson in action against Kansas

It’s hard to remember now but in the wake of Patrick Ewing’s sensational Georgetown career, Alonzo Mourning was pitched as being possibly better.

Certainly a better shot blocker.

In one high school, game, Mourning blocked 27 shots.

Ewing graduated in 1985 and in 1989, the aura around Georgetown basketball had not yet faded. The Hoyas were at one level. Duke, despite a great team in 1986, a Sweet Sixteen in 1987 and another Final Four in 1988, was not there yet.

Aside from Mourning, John Thompson had Dikembe Mutombo, one of the greatest shot blockers of all time.

So when the Blue Devils and Hoyas met in the Eastern regional finals in 1989, the Hoyas were seen as the dominant team. Duke had freshman Christian Laettner but he wasn’t yet the Laettner we came to know.

It was supposed to be a fairly easy win for Georgetown and most of the nation was scared of the two great big men.

Well except for Phil Henderson.

Duke’s thin senior guard took the ball down the lane and when Mourning challenged, he didn’t hesitate: Henderson dunked in his face.

As much as anyone, Henderson broke the aura of Georgetown. The program was never really the same again after that dunk.

And really, neither was Duke.