C.J. a Proud Jayhawk

C.J. Henry couldn't help but get emotional and nostalgic during the pregame video Thursday night in Allen Fieldhouse knowing he would play his first game in four years against Central Arkansas and follow in the proud footsteps of his family.

"It was exciting to know I was going to play tonight," the KU freshman guard said. "When they were showing the video, I was like, ‘Man, my dad (Carl) played here, my brother (Xavier) plays here, my mom (Barbara) played here, my aunt (Vickie) played here. It's just crazy. We all played here."

Indeed, C.J. Henry comes from a long history of Jayhawks. And now it's his turn to don the crimson and blue.

After redshirting last year at Memphis with a foot injury and being sidelined at Kansas with a swollen knee, Henry made his first appearance in a KU uniform with 2:28 remaining in the first half and the Jayhawks up 36-9.

He missed his first shot (a three-pointer), but came back in the second half and made all three buckets, including two threes. Henry scored eight points and grabbed one rebound in nine minutes.

Henry's first three-pointer with 3:39 remaining in the game drew a huge ovation and was one of the biggest highlights of the night during KU's 94-44 victory over the Bears.

"It felt good just to get that out of the way," Henry said. "I wasn't really too worried about scoring points. I was just trying to see how my knee felt and help my teammates."

And about the knee?

"It feels pretty good," Henry replied. "I told coach (Bill Self) before the game I was about 80 percent. He suggested we try it out tonight. ... It's healing. It's almost healed completely. I'll just be glad when I'm 100 percent."

While Henry was thrilled to play his first college game at KU, he was frustrated he wasn't able to see action against Memphis on Tuesday night in St. Louis because of his knee injury. Henry said he "made a connection with those guys" during his one season in Memphis.

"That was the game I was most looking forward to," Henry said. "I wish them the best of luck. They're a good team. I just wish I could have played, it would have been fun."

Henry, though, is now eager to play the rest of the season for the Jayhawks and fight his way into the mix. His knee injury has limited him to about seven of 25 practices thus far, so Henry knows he has to get caught up.

"It's going to take time," he said. "I think I'll  definitely be in the rotation. I just have to work hard every day and get my reps in. That is the first game I played in four years. I understand that. I got to get used to playing with everybody. That's the main thing this team needs is chemistry. To win it all, you got to have chemistry, just to win games period and to be a good team."

Self was pleased with Henry's performance in his first basketball game since his Putnam High School team in Oklahoma City lost in the state semifinals in 2005.

"He made some shots," Self said. "I thought he moved pretty good. It was good to see him get a couple down. He's a good shooter."

Just like his dad, Carl, an All-Big Eight selection in 1984. Twenty-five years later, C.J. is now teaming with his younger brother and fellow freshman, Xavier, to form the "First Family of Kansas Basketball."

"It's indescribable for the whole family to do one thing," C.J. said. "And for me to do it with my family at the same time is a chance of a lifetime."

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