Andre Henley, known better as Dre, moved from Chicago De La Salle to Brehm Prep in Carbondale to get his grades in order. The change took him far away from the Chicago media, and some people forgot about him. But Henley has skills that make him marketable.
Last fall was tough for Henley. Moving so far from his family and friends was difficult. He gained weight and lost confidence as he adjusted to the changes. It took him awhile to get in shape and find his role on the Brehm Prep team. Those who watched him at the start of the school season questioned his ability.
But Henley is beginning to break out of his shell. For one thing, he is in much better shape now.
"I've lost weight thanks to Coach (Aaron) Lee. He's put me to work. It's all good."
How has that helped your game?
"Faster, quicker, I can jump higher."
Getting over his homesickness and learning a new system helped as well.
"I feel real comfortable. I know what I've got to do on the court. I know what my place is. I know what not to do. Everything's good."
And he's enjoying playing on the Mac Irvin Fire with former high school teammate Mike Shaw and other Chicago area friends. Now, the year of exile seems in the distant past. He is pleased with how well the Fire is playing this spring.
"Really well. We're doing good. Everybody knows what to do and what not to do. We're still coming together as a team right now."
Henley's game is difficult to describe. There is no one thing that sticks out.
"Spot-up shooter, off the dribble, driving the lane, shooting threes, making good passes."
In other words, he's a Jack-of-all-trades.
In games at the Spiece Run n' Slam in Fort Wayne, recently, the Fire lacked great depth. Henley literally played all five positions at one time or another. He has a position preference, but he is a team-first player.
"Two right now, but anytime I play, I never play one position. I play everywhere. I just go wherever Coach tells me to go. If he wants me to play point guard, I'll go play that. If he wants me to post up, I'll do that. But I can play the two all day long."
The 6'-6" Henley backed up the 6'-8" Shaw in the post while spending significant time as a point guard. He hit 3 threes in two consecutive games while handling the ball and dishing out several assists. He has improved greatly in a year.
He has also raised his grade point average significantly during his time at Brehm Prep.
"Beginning my sophomore year, I was having trouble. Living the good life, being the kid I was. I had to make a move, so I transferred to Brehm.
"I got myself straightened out, and everything's fine right now. I didn't do good my sophomore year, but this year I got three A's, two B's. My grade point average was 3.5."
Illinois is keeping tabs on him, among others. Coaches who overlook Henley may someday regret it as he is a glue guy who makes every team he plays on better.