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Mitch Henderson introduced at Princeton.

Full Mitch Henderson press conference:

Mitch Henderson interview:

Mitch Henderson '98 was officially introduced by Princeton Athletic Director Gary Walters as the new head coach of the Tigers at a press conference in the Class of 1956 Lounge this afternoon.

Full audio of both the formal press conference as well as an exclusive one-on-one conversation with are available above.

Additional photos from Robert Solomon after the jump.

Four years ago, a dais. This press conference, a table.

Princeton's two basketball coaches exchange words.

The table was flanked by the famous picture of Henderson from the UCLA game on one side...

...and a more recent image from Northwestern's sidelines on the other.

A handshake between Gary Walters and Mitch Henderson.

Walters and Henderson. It was hard to wipe the smile off the latter's face.


Henderson answers a question from the media.

Henderson was interviewed by a man desperately in need of a haircut after the press conference's conclusion.

Jack said,

April 21, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

Sounds like the issue of turnover was addressed in the interview process. We'll see.

Gregg Lange said,

April 21, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

The other fascinating insight (mentioned at least twice in case we didn't get it the first time) was "don't screw up a winning team." Seemingly innocuous, but certainly not always followed, as we know.

R.W. Enoch, Jr. said,

April 21, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

He seemed a bit awestruck by the moment/cameras/spotlight. I'm sure a lot of alumni would come in and say they'd love to have a Carril career repeat, only to be jaded after 3 years and look to get out ASAP.

Learning what we've learned the past month, I almost feel bad for the guy. He mentioned the support basketball was going to get from the University, and apparently it's not there. He hasn't had to deal with the admissions office or anything like that yet. I just worry he's really going to regret saying he'd like to have Carril's longevity at Princeton when he pulls a carmothompscottson in a few years.

He also all but said that the class of 2012 recruiting situation is a nightmare. That makes me sad.

R.W. Enoch, Jr. said,

April 21, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

* Not class of 2012. Whatever the current incoming rookies are.

TigerHeel said,

April 21, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

I liked Coach Henderson's welcoming words to the current players and his professed willingness to play a style in which the team is comfortable. A smooth transition will be key to keeping the program on solid footing, retaining commitments from the incoming freshmen and paving the way for new recruits.

Critical to that transition will be the assistant coaches that Coach Henderson employs. I would love to see one or more of Coaches Earl, Greenman or Levy on the staff, together with Kendrick Saunders retained as Director of Basketball Operations. Another former player who would be great for creating continuity amidst the transition is Noah Savage.

Thank goodness Walters and the University acted relatively fast in making the smart (even if obvious) choice of selecting Coach Henderson as the next coach.

TigerHeel said,

April 21, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

Jon, now that Coach Henderson has been hired, do you expect to find a time soon to speak with Coach Johnson about his decision to leave? While the always thoughtful Coach Johnson will choose his words carefully, it would be good to hear from him and might help bring some closure to those of us still smarting from the recent turn of events.

Jon Solomon said,

April 21, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

Depends on your definition of "soon," but I do still expect to talk to Coach Johnson on the record about his departure.

Coco said,

April 21, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

Here's hoping that Mitch had encouraging talks with those members of the Class of 2015 who have already said they will enroll at Princeton. Each will play an important role in the future.

And if Clay Wilson is willing to reconsider, Mitch can tell him about Bill Bradley. As many know, he committed to Duke, but once there decided that Princeton might be a better place for him. Probably wasn't the architecture!

Steven Postrel said,

April 21, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

Mitch looks like he could suit up and play tomorrow. Same with SJ. These guys don't seem to put on much weight after college.

I liked his enthusiasm and focus. He should fit in very well given the continuities in Princeton basketball--emphasis on versatile players, focus on skills, expectation of individual growth and development over time, unselfish play. I just hope he can maintain the physicality in defense and rebounding that SJ's teams (and JTIII's) showed; that's been an important strength for the team in a lot of difficult situations over the last few years.

It sounds like he's definitely attuned to the importance of recruiting, and he helped recruit and develop some really good players at NU, so there's much to hope for. The transition could be awkward, though, with a new staff coming in and recruits possibly rethinking their options.

George Clark said,

April 22, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

Recruiting is the most important matter in determining the success of the transition in the short run. Mitch should benefit from his membership in the Tiger family and his friendship with SJ. Any kid willing to buy into the program built by SJ should not be discouraged by this hiring. He won't see much of a difference. The holes that have to be filled are the same ones that existed before Johnson left. Assuming Davis and Hummer continue to play as well as they have, we need "normal course of business" improvement from the returnees, especially Connolly. There is definitely room for a freshman to step in and make a big splash. If that happens Harvard better not take anything for granted. On the whole, I feel much better than I did two days ago.

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