Henry should fit in well at KU
By picking the Kansas Jayhawks, 2009 recruit Xavier Henry (Oklahoma City/Putnam City) has made one of the preseason favorites considerably better.
Of course, this was Henry's second time through the recruiting process. In November, he committed to Memphis. He opened things back up when John Calipari took the head coaching job at Kentucky.
This decision came down to where Henry felt most comfortable. His brother C.J. also was familiar with Kansas; he had committed to the Jayhawks before electing to pursue a professional baseball career. C.J. will try to walk on at Kansas next season. (He has to file a waiver with the NCAA to play right away after redshirting at Memphis.)
Both Calipari and Kansas coach Bill Self cultivated relationships with Henry, and Henry's experience getting recruited by Kansas over the years was a positive one. Although he was very close with Calipari, he probably was more familiar with the players at Kansas.
Henry, who announced his decision to attend Kansas on Thursday, is the nation's No. 3 recruit and one of the best perimeter scorers in the Class of 2009. With Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins returning to Kansas, Henry should be a complement to the Jayhawks' All-American upperclassmen. Henry's 3-point shooting ability will create space for Aldrich down low and give Collins another weapon to look for in transition and off penetration.
With so much returning talent in Lawrence, Henry won't be under a ton of pressure. He should slide right in at the on the wing -- playing next to Collins and Tyshawn Taylor.
Henry's athleticism and effort should help him be a great fit at KU. Kansas plays pressure defense, especially on the wings, which can lead to many transition baskets. In the half court, the Jayhawks often look to a high-low set that could give Henry plenty of open looks from outside.
Kansas also likes to run many high-ball screens, which should be beneficial to Henry; he can turn those opportunities into high-percentage shots. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Henry is his size. He stands 6-foot-6 and possesses an NBA-ready body (weighing in around 230 pounds). When he gets in the lane, Henry carries the defender on his hip and finishes through contact with ease.
Henry completes a stellar recruiting class for Self. The Jayhawks also will bring in ESPNU 100 prospects PF Thomas Robinson (Washington, D.C./Brewster Academy, N.H.) and G Elijah Johnson (Las Vegas/Cheyenne). Robinson is a low-post bruiser who hits the boards with tenacity. Johnson is a terrific playmaking guard who can play either the 1 or 2. In our most recent recruiting class rankings, Kansas checked in at No. 22, but will be significantly higher in our final tally at the end of the late signing period.
Henry's committing to Kansas means SG Lance Stephenson (Lincoln/N.Y.) will be headed elsewhere. Stephenson, one of the nation's top uncommitted recruits, was strongly considering Kansas when Henry opened his recruiting process back up. Now it looks to be a two-horse race between St. John's and Maryland for Stephenson's services.
Paul Biancardi is a veteran of the coaching ranks with years of college experience. He has recruited on a national level with stops as an assistant coach at Boston University and Boston College, associate head coach at Ohio State and most recently as an assistant at Saint Louis University. Biancardi was head coach at Wright State University from 2003 to 2006. In 2003, he was named Horizon League Coach of the Year. He is a selection committee member for the prestigious McDonald's All-America Game and the Gatorade Player of the Year award.
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