Carl Henry laughed after learning his son, C.J., would be a sophomore, not a freshman, at Kansas University next season.
“It doesn’t matter,” Carl said.
That’s because C.J., a 6-foot-3 red-shirt freshman guard at the University of Memphis — who will transfer to KU to play on the same team as his brother Xavier — turns 23 in May.
And like Xavier ... C.J. hopes to be on a fast-track to the NBA.
“A lot of people are going to be shocked when they see ‘C’ play,” Carl said in a phone interview Friday from Oklahoma City. “He will play like a grown man.
“I believe he will (play in NBA),” Carl added. “I’ve seen a lot of guys (as coach of Athletes First AAU) who have advanced to that level. He has that ability. He hasn’t played in three years so people may have forgotten about him. He’ll attack you all the time. He can go right or left, can shoot the basketball and can jump. He can play.”
C.J. Henry will be a soph next season because his college career started after the age of 21 and the clock continues to tick each year after that.
It’s believed he’ll be eligible to play immediately at KU instead of having to sit out a year.
“According to the NCAA rules, with C.J. being a non-recruited athlete, his scholarship was being financed through the (New York) Yankees which makes him qualified for a one-time transfer rule. He’ll be able to play,” C.J.’s mom, Barbara Henry, said.
Barbara agrees with Carl that C.J. will make an immediate impact here.
“C.J. is very quick. He’s a point guard who is very strong,” said Barbara, who like Carl, played hoops at KU. “He will bring maturity, strength. He can shoot as well as post at 6-foot-3.”
C.J. — he signed a $1.6 million signing bonus with the New York Yankees in 2005, but saw his pro baseball career end last fall — is confident he can play hoops at the highest level.
His broken foot that kept him out this past season is expected to be fully healed in time for summer workouts.
“My game will end up speaking for itself,” C.J. Henry said Thursday in a phone conversation. “I think I’m going to play (immediately in KU’s rotation).”
The former Putnam City High standout further addressed his role in a Thursday afternoon interview with Yahoo!Sports.
“They’re loaded,” C.J. said of the Jayhawks. “It’s going to be a good team, a well-balanced team. Sherron (Collins) is a point, but he’s more of a scorer. They can play him off the ball, too. I think there’s going to be plenty of opportunities. I just have to go in there and take them. I’m a lot more mature than most college kids. Strength-wise … playing against kids that are 18 and 19 is going to be different. Hopefully that and my work ethic will put me over the edge.”
l Carl to live here and OKC: Carl Henry said he’ll likely keep his place in Oklahoma City as well as live in Lawrence part of the year.
“Actually I’ll continue to coach Athletes First for NIKE. The season is March to August,” Henry said. “I’ll be in Lawrence (the rest of the time). Do you have any nice apartments there?” he added with a laugh.
Barbara Henry, who works for Hertz in Oklahoma City, hopes to catch on with that company here and live in Lawrence year-round.
l Schedule update: KU will play at both Tennessee and Temple during the 2009-10 nonconference season. The Temple game will be in the Owls’ campus arena, 10,200-seat Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
KU also will travel to UCLA as part of the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Challenge. The Bruins will meet KU in a return game at Allen Fieldhouse the following season.
KU also will compete in a tournament that originally was going to be hosted by the University of Memphis. Instead, the round-robin tournament will be sponsored by the National Basketball Hall of Fame, ESPN reported Friday.
The format will give KU, Memphis, Louisville and Arkansas three home games against low- to mid-major teams. The fourth game will be the previously reported doubleheader pitting KU vs. Memphis and Louisville vs. Arkansas on Nov. 17 in St. Louis.
There have been whispers Memphis wants out of the tourney now that coach John Calipari has left for Kentucky. KU officials have not heard that rumor.
KU is working on scheduling two home games against high-major competition.
“They will be good games,” said KU’s schedule maker, senior associate AD Larry Keating. “This year, Temple and Tennessee are returns of home-and-homes so we have two open now.”
l Where will Lance wind up?: The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper believes Lance Stephenson will surface at St. John’s now that Xavier Henry has chosen KU. Stephenson, 6-6 from Brooklyn, N.Y. had a final three of KU, St. John’s and Maryland. Zagsblog.net on Friday reported that Stephenson was still considering KU despite the fact KU has filled its scholarship allotment of 13.