Henry Still A Work In Progress

FAYETTEVILLE — Fans have seen only the beginning with freshman Jason Henry. Arkansas coach John Pelphrey is sure of that.

Pelphrey believes so much potential still resides within Henry's talented 6-foot-6 frame, perhaps more so within the West Memphis native's brain. The only thing standing between Henry and consistent production, Pelphrey said, is his off-the-court mentality.

"Relative to him, I think he's grown a lot," Pelphrey said. "Relative to other normal human beings, probably not a whole lot. He's got a long way to go. I don't say that stuff to be negative or to make fun. I say that stuff in seriousness.

"If the young man can ever get some fundamentals down of why it's important to go to school and study, and why the weight room and the training room are important ... then he's got a chance to have some more good performances."

Until then, Pelphrey will just have to deal with not knowing what to expect out of Henry. Even without conquering all of those tasks, Henry has found a way to help out the Razorbacks the past few weeks.

Henry has scored in double figures in six of Arkansas' last seven contests, and soreness in his right knee let him play only nine minutes in that other game. He posted career highs of 27 points and 12 rebounds Saturday at South Carolina and is averging 11.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in his last seven tilts.

"He's doing that all on talent," Pelphrey said. "The thing that keeps him from doing it repeatedly is the way he lives his life, and he knows that. I've shared this with him."

"But he's got some wonderful ability. He's got some gifts that don't get passed out to everybody."

Pelphrey said he's been impressed most with Henry's ability to rebound on the offensive end. Henry grabbed eight offensive boards Saturday against the Gamecocks and snagged five in Arkansas' loss to Kentucky.

Henry won't enter the starting lineup for Wednesday's game at Alabama. Pelphrey said he "likes him where he's at," coming off the bench. Arkansas freshman point guard Courtney Fortson couldn't disagree with his coach.

"(Jason) brings a lot of energy off the bench, a lot of scoring and rebounding," Fortson said. "I think he goes and gets (rebounds) like I do. He doesn't wait around for the rebound to come to him. He goes and gets the rebound."

While Henry has continued to make strides toward improving his work ethic away from basketball, freshman guard Rotnei Clarke said Henry has had a different positive impact.

"He brings a lot of things to this team," Clarke said. "As far as his personality off the court, he's a funny guy. All the players love him."

Pelphrey is starting to come around, as well. Henry, who didn't speak with the media Monday, has steadily recovered from the arthroscopic surgery he underwent earlier in the season, which forced him to miss three games.

Heeding his coach's advice, Henry has spent more time in the training room lately.

"I'm not 100 percent yet, no," Henry said after Saturday's contest. "But I'm getting close."

Wednesday's Ticket

Arkansas at Alabama

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

TV: None

Radio: KEZA-FM 107.9, KKEG-FM 92.1, KUOA-AM 1290, FM 105.3

Records: Arkansas Razorbacks, 13-12, 1-11 Southeastern Conference; Alabama Crimson Tide, 14-12, 4-8

Coaches: Arkansas, John Pelphrey (2nd season); Alabama, Philip Pearson (interim coach)

Series: Arkansas leads 26-21 (Alabama leads 14-5 in Tuscaloosa)

Last Meeting: Arkansas beat Alabama 89-80 on Jan. 29 in Fayetteville

Jason Henry's Last Seven Games

Opponent Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Steals

at LSU 26 10 6 0 2

Tennessee 28 11 7 2 1

at Mississippi State 23 10 5 0 0

at Auburn 9 2 3 0 0

Kentucky 31 12 11 1 5

LSU 26 10 4 0 0

South Carolina 39 27 12 1 2

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