Xavier Henry, Scout.com's #6-ranked senior in the country, announced his intention to attend the University of Kansas at a news conference Thursday morning at Putnam City (OK) High School, and Bill Self couldn't be happier.
"It's a huge get, not just to get one of the best prospects in the
country and fill a need but we also recruited his family. To see
everything come full circle, it's a huge get," he said.
The KU head basketball coach said Henry's commitment filled a very
definite need in the Kansas line-up.
"I see him having chance to come in and impact us in a big way. Last
year, we didn't have a big perimeter player. Xavier's big (6-6, 225).
He can score, he can defend, he can post up a smaller player. He can do
some different things that we couldn't do much of or any of last year."
He added, "Before last year's team, we were able to have balance and
guys who could score from all five spots. Our young guys played great
this year and they're going to be better next year, but we had some
needs to address, and through our recruiting, we addressed those needs."
Henry averaged 28.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a high school
senior last season. His commitment – along with C Cole Aldrich and G
Sherron Collins' decisions to return to KU next fall – makes the
Jayhawks the media's clear-cut preseason favorite to win the national
title. Self, on the other hand, hesitated to make any comparisons
between a team that had never seen the floor together and his 2007-08
national championship squad.
"That team had three guys who are rookies and are starting for their
NBA teams and a fourth who's playing significant minutes for his team
and a fifth who would be in the league but chose to go overseas," he
cautioned. "I don't know if (this team has) the same kind of numbers to
do what those guys have done after college, but I know we have numbers,
we have depth and we have some guys who are pretty good at what they
It's also thought that the Jayhawks got a two-for-one deal. Xavier
Henry's older brother, CJ, is expected to join Xavier in Lawrence.
Self, however, couldn't answer questions regarding CJ because he hadn't
been admitted to the University yet.
CJ Henry originally signed to play basketball at Kansas out of high
school but was chosen by the New York Yankees as the number one pick of
the 2005 baseball draft. He averaged 23.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.1
assists and 2.4 steals a game as a senior at Putnam City HS.
Henry rode the buses for three seasons before signing last August to
play basketball for John Calipari at Memphis. Xavier also committed to
the Tigers, as well, in an effort to keep his family close.
CJ sat out the 2008-09 season. When Calipari took the head coaching job
at Kentucky after the season, both he and Xavier decided to re-open
CJ (6-3, 205) will join the Kansas team as a walk-on. He can't be
awarded a scholarship since he played professional baseball; however,
as part of his baseball contract, the Yankees are picking up the tab
for his college education.
Self: "It's a huge get"
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