Alaska import LaDontae Henton bears resemblance to Harden, but insists he can play better defense
Alaska import LaDontae Henton is a big-time scorer in college, sports a beard and is left-handed, like James Harden. But he insists he can play defense. Karlo Sacamos

HE may look like James Harden, but Alaska import LaDontae Henton insisted he plays better defense than the Houston Rockets star who is maligned for his lack of desire on the defensive end of the floor.

And that’s what Henton seeks to bring to an Alaska side that puts a premium on defense, in the PBA Governors’ Cup next month.

“That’s (defense) what I’m here for,” the Aces import told after practice on Monday. “Whatever the coaches want me to do.”

Nicknamed ‘Buckets,’ Henton has been known more as a big-time scorer, capping off his collegiate career by leading the Big East conference in scoring at 19.7 a game in his senior year at Providence.

Apart from his scoring ability, the 24-year-old Lansing, Michigan native is left handed and is thick bearded like Harden.

But the resemblances end there, he assured.

“I get that (being a Harden lookalike) a lot, but definitely (I play better defense than him),” Henton beamed.

But Aces assistant coach Louie Alas stressed the jury is still out as far as Henton’s defense is concerned.

“It remains to be seen,” Alas, coach Alex Compton’s top deputy, said. “He’s a legitimate scorer, pero hindi ko pa masasabi ang defense niya.”

But Dondon Hontiveros believes Henton has the potential to be at the forefront of the Aces’ suffocating defense.

“He has long arms, so deceptive yung pagka-defensive player niya kasi mahaba nga yung reach and he has a good basketball IQ,” the Aces sniper said of Henton, who is listed at 6-4.

“Around six-four lang ata siya,” Hontiveros was quick to add. “Pero with his length, parang makaka-cover up siya ng space. Sa tingin ko kaya niya two, three, and four (spots) eh.”

Henton, who last played in Spain for eight months after going undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft, vowed to just give his best on both ends of the floor to lead the Aces get over the hump after numerous near-misses.

“They can expect me to go out there and play hard every time and try to do whatever it takes to help my team win,” he said. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos