McHenry snaps up playoff MVP award


Staff Writer

Throughout his four seasons with the Ryukyu Golden Kings, high-flying forward Anthony McHenry has been an integral part of their success.

Versatile and dangerous on the perimeter and in the lane as a pinpoint passer on the offensive end, McHenry is equally adept at being a lockdown defender.

McHenry was named the 2011-12 playoff MVP after a 25-point, four-rebound, three-assist, three-block effort and almost enough air time to qualify for a pilot’s license in an 89-73 win over the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix on Sunday in the bj-league championship game.

“It was a little bit sweeter to beat those guys,” McHenry said of the championship rematch against Hamamatsu after losing to the Eastern Conference power last May. “They are a great team. You’ve got to give them credit.”

The former Georgia Tech standout contributed 16 points, eight boards, three steals, two assists and a block in a win over the Kyoto Hannaryz in the Western Conference final on Saturday.

Phoenix forward Wayne Arnold said McHenry’s versatility is impressive.

We play a lot of games (in Atlanta) and a lot of the time he’s the best player on the court,” said Arnold, noting McHenry has the skills to defend players at all positions.

McHenry said team work is his only focus on the court.

“I’ve never considered myself to be a go-to player,” McHenry said. “I think it shows in the way that I play. On any given night I can score points, get rebounds, assists, steals or blocks. It doesn’t really matter. I’m more of a player that just wants to go out and do what it takes to win. So tonight it was points, but it could’ve been any of those other categories, and I think a lot of the players on this team are the same way.”

Indeed, the Golden Kings have bought into coach Dai Oketani’s system. And the results are impressive: four straight Final Four appearances and two championships.

Feeling the championship euphoria for the second time, McHenry had to be reminded to carry his MVP trophy away from the interview table.

That’s one piece of hardware he’ll want to hold on to for decades to come.