Say it isn’t so, or wish her well.

Emmonie Henderson, the enforcer on the University of Louisville women’s basketball team, has decided to forego her junior year in basketball to pursue a qualifying spot on the U.S. Olympics track and field team.

Emmonnie Henderson eyes the Olympics.
Emmonnie Henderson eyes the Olympics.

So fun to watch her have her way on the basketball court, often providing the answer when rough and tumble was required beneath the basket. Never backing down, always in the thick of the action. Provoking an instant spurt of adrenaline, along with a healthy dose of intimidation, when she enters a game.

Emmonie has other plans for herself, however, like possibly winning a medal or two in shot put and discus competition.

“I wanted to take the year off from basketball, with hopes of returning, to focus on making it to the Olympics,” Henderson said. “It’s been a goal of mine, and I know I couldn’t do it without the help of coach (Dale) Cowper and coach (Jeff) Walz, so I’m very grateful to them.”

Currently, Henderson ranks 12th in the United States in the discus and 23rd in the shot put. Since her time in high school, she has increased her shot put by more than five feet and her discus mark by nearly 25 feet.

“Emmonnie expressed her goal of qualifying for a spot to compete in the 2016 Olympics,” said Walz. “I truly believe this is the best move for her. We always tell our student-athletes that we want to look out for their best interests, and I think the best opportunity for her to make it to Rio to focus solely on track and field this school year.”

With women’s basketball, Henderson has played in 68 games in two seasons and averaged 5.6 points and 3.6 rebounds, along with 25 blocks and 34 steals in that span.

Go for it, Emmonnie. Come back to basketball for the 2016-17. There’s always room for an enforcer.

Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.