By Jennifer Roback
Kaia Henderson, 17, is a native of Upstate New York who is on the verge of becoming the all-time leading scorer in New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHAA) Section III girls basketball history.
In April 2021, Henderson announced her commitment to continue her academic and athletic career at Ohio State University after graduation.
According to Matt Oswalt, the program director for the Syracuse Royals, her commitment to Ohio State came after an unofficial visit, where she was instantly impressed by the campus and facility.
"She's ecstatic," Oswalt, who has known Henderson for six years, said to the Utica Observer Dispatch. "I think the way they run things and the way they do things, there's just a fit for her."
Following the end of the 2020-21 season, Henderson averaged 33 points a game for New Hartford High School and currently sits fifth in Section III history with 2,096 career points.
Despite being on the verge of breaking high school records, Henderson is keeping her focus on the next big step in both her academic and athletic career.
Following her commitment, on August 17, 2021, the 5'5" point guard revealed that she plans on graduating high school early to join the Buckeyes in January 2022.
Once enrolled at Ohio State in January, Henderson, who is ranked as the No. 48 prospect in the class of 2022 nationally by Blue Star Basketball Report, will be able to start practicing with the team.
Henderson's father, Aurelius, and Oswalt revealed to Syracuse.com that there were many factors that played a role in her decision to graduate early. Another Buckeyes recruit, Cotie McMahon, also announced she would be doing the same thing.
They also revealed to the the media outlet that the two have since become close friends.
Known as one of the best female prospects in New York State, Henderson is already the all-time leading scorer at New Hartford high school and has been named the Utica Observer-Dispatch's Player of the Year twice.
Prior to committing to Ohio State, Henderson had also received offers from over 15 Division I schools, including Syracuse, Colgate, LIU, Dartmouth, Providence, Rhode Island, and Virginia Tech.
“She’s a special player and a special kid,” New Hartford coach Mike Callan told the OD. “If anybody outworks her, I would like to see it. Spring, summer, fall, winter: She works as hard as anybody I’ve seen. Physically, mentally, she’s just so strong that you don’t realize until you see her play a lot.”
With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic it is unknown how much playing time Henderson will get during her shortened senior year but the future looks bring for the young prospect as she prepares to finish out her career as a Spartan.