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‘Try to build off his legacy’: Cactus center Bradey Henige grows into … – The Arizona Republic

Bob Henige was a force on the basketball court at Cactus in the 1980s. Now his son is turning into maybe the school’s all-time greatest.

It was in the seventh grade that Bradey Henige passed his father’s height at 6 feet 9 inches. But he wanted to pass him on the basketball court.

Four years later, the now 7-foot, 240-pound junior is creating his own hoops legacy at the school where his dad starred at Glendale Cactus High School.

Through his first six games, Henige is averaging 27.7 points and 22 rebounds and the Cobras are unbeaten. He leads his team into the North Valley Christian holiday tournament this weekend in Anthem.

“I want to follow in his footsteps, try to build off his legacy at Cactus,” Henige said about his dad Bob, who played at Cactus in the 1980s, before playing at Grand Canyon University.

Bob Henige, who is 6-8, has worked with Bradey growing up, but this is his first year as an assistant coach for Cactus, sitting next to head coach Dirk Walker on the bench.

More:The Arizona Republic’s Top 15 high school boys basketball players of the week: Dec. 5-10

Walker said that Bradey has become a perfectionist, working the little things to elevate his game.

“He puts in extra time,” Walker said. “After games, he’s shooting free throws. And we’d get a win. But he wasn’t happy with the way he shot free throws.”

Bradey has taken his game up several notches since last season when he averaged 19.4 points and 14 rebounds. He is averaging 9.5 offensive rebounds a game this season. He is not only much more active on the glass, but he is running the floor and starting to get his shooting range outside of the paint.

“He’s able to drive it more this year,” Walker said. “He’s more confident.”

The next step is to become a consistent 3-point shooter who can be a stretch 4, not just a down-in-the-block low-post tank who cleans the glass.

Bob, who has his own club team and has had his son play on other club teams, has seen the switch go off for Bradey to take his game to a new level this year.

“You’re going to mature naturally or it’s not going to be there,” Bob said. “He’s been to enough of the (colleges) where coaches tell him, ‘We don’t have you as a 5, we want you as a 4, that kid who can hit the 3, and dribble drive from the outside.’ “

Ballhandling is something Bob has worked on with Bradey since he was about 6. At 6-10 or 7 feet anymore, players need to be able to handle the ball.

“No more pigeon-holed, 5 down in the hole, it’s gone,” Bob said. “You can do it in high school. But you’re not going to survive in college that way.”

More:The Arizona Republic’s high school boys basketball rankings through Dec. 11, 2022: Open-1A

Bradey comes from a big athletic family. His older brother Bobby played basketball at Cactus, but took off in volleyball, ending up being 6-11 and a big part of Benedictine Mesa’s NAIA national men’s volleyball championship team in 2019.

His little brother, Tommy, who is in the eighth grade and already 6-1, will be joining Bradey at Cactus next season.

Three sisters, all over 6 feet, played college volleyball.

Mom Jana Henige was a 5-11 college volleyball player who is the girls volleyball coach at Cactus.

“My youngest is upset because he’s only 6-1, 6-2,” Bob said.

Bradey was region boys volleyball Player of the Year the last two seasons. But he wants basketball to be his college future. He has three offers, including GCU. His first offer came his sophomore year from San Jose State. His second offer came from Northern Arizona.

He looks forward to the Jan. 12 showdown against Goodyear Estrella 7-1 senior Noah Amenhauser, who has signed with GCU. They’ve never met in a high school basketball game.

“Since my dad, since he had basketball in his genes, I’ve always been the one he’s been working with out of all my siblings,” Bradey said. “Since a lot of seniors left last year, I had to step up and be the main guy. I’ve accepted that role.”

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert or 602-316-8827. Follow him on Twitter@azc_obert

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