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Henshall excited to represent Cougars in NBL with Wildcats

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The latest Cockburn Cougars product will be entering the NBL for the 2023/24 season with Ben Henshall signing at the Perth Wildcats as he’ll look to represent the Cougar Family with pride on the big stage.

Having been part of the Cockburn Cougars junior program and going on to be part of two national championship gold medals for Western Australia, Henshall had a big decision to make on his future.

Henshall has already played some NBL1 West games with the Cougars as well, suiting up for 12 games back in the 2021 season as a 17-year-old.

Having attented the Australian Institute of Sport where he’s currently playing for their team entered in the NBL1 East competition for the 2023 season, Henshall had the basketball world almost at his feet.

There were colleges right throughout the United States trying to recruit him to join their programs, but Henshall felt that the grounding he received with the Cougars, and now at the AIS had him ready to immediately begin his professional basketball career.

Once he made that decision, there were no shortage of NBL clubs looking to secure his services but it was his hometown Perth Wildcats that won the race to sign him and he has signed on for the NBL24 and NBL25 seasons with the ‘Cats.

The 6’5 combo guard is one of the most exciting and versatile young talents in the country with the 19-year-old feeling the best thing for his future was to immediately join the NBL and not go the college path.

The NBL Next Stars program has been such a success already and continued to be this past season with Rayan Rupert at the New Zealand Breakers. While not officially a Next Star, Henshall fits the billing as one and he’s more than happy with his decision.

“Everyone is going to down the college path and the NBL is starting to become a really good pathway for younger guys like me,” Henshall said.

“It was a no brainer for me. From when I first got to the AIS, it’s really what I wanted to do. I never really had much interest in college.

“I always wanted to go down the professional pathway. I’ve done a lot of talking to people who have been to college and haven’t enjoyed it.

“I really just wanted to come to the NBL as quick as I could, boost my development, get around the older guys and be in a professional environment as soon as possible.”

Henshall is fresh off being named the MVP earlier this year as a key piece in WA’s team that won under-20s national championship and more recently he has been playing in the NBL1 East competition with the Centre of Excellence team from the AIS.

He is averaging 19.1 points, 4.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds a game for an AIS team that holds a 7-1 record so far in the NBL1 East including his best of 30 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals back on March 26 against the Illawarra Hawks.

The Wildcats didn’t want to let such an exciting local talent get to shine anywhere but with his hometown club. As a ‘Cats supporter his whole life, it’s a dream come true for Henshall to now get to play in Perth to begin his professional career this coming NBL season.

“It feels awesome, I’ve been watching the Wildcats play for a long time now so it feels amazing to finally get to suit up and play with all the boys,” Henshall said.

“The coaches are really focused on development and getting me to where I need to go and they’re going to invest a lot of time into me, being at home and getting to play in front of my family is a big part of it as well.

“I think I’ll be able to bring a lot of versatility, I’ve got good size and length for a guard, I can be another option for scoring or just whatever coach Rillie needs me to do, I can get out there and do it.”

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