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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lakers give Xavier Henry a shot

New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Xavier Henry (4) dunks the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in New Orleans, Friday, March 2, 2012. The Hornets won 97-92.

New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Xavier Henry (4) dunks the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in New Orleans, Friday, March 2, 2012. The Hornets won 97-92.

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Former Kansas University basketball guard Xavier Henry, whose rookie contract expired at the end of the 2012-13 season, will try to resurrect his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers at the still-young age of 22.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder from Oklahoma City averaged 3.9 and 5.3 points a game the past two seasons with New Orleans after averaging 4.3 points a game his rookie season with Memphis. He recently signed a contract with the Lakers that various websites have said is contingent on his making the squad in training camp. However, spotrac.com indicates he has been guaranteed a one-year salary of $916,099. He made $1.7 million, $1,809,700 and $1,936,000 his first three years in the league.

“During the free-agent process, I was working hard and when I started to get feedback from teams, we thought (the Lakers) was a good fit for me,” Henry told Lakers.com. “When the deal got done, I was excited. There’s not one thing you can say wrong about the Lakers — their history, the players, the coach. They have one of the greats in Kobe (Bryant) that you can learn from every single day.”

Henry, who was chosen No. 12 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft following his one-and-done season at KU, explained his slow adjustment to pro ball in Memphis in 2010-11.

“What really hurt me was I hurt my knee and basically missed the rest of the season. (Coach Lionel Hollins) played me, but I wasn’t even healthy, and it was hard for me to deal with that going through the rest of the year. It was like I had to start all over,” said Henry, who played in 38 games his injury-plagued rookie season.

“It was going good at first right after I got drafted. I had O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen (ahead of him). They started with Mayo, and we weren’t winning much. They started Allen, and we still weren’t winning much, so they put me in. I was playing fine as a rookie to get my feet wet. A couple games in, my knee (acted up), and that was it.

“It wasn’t a happy time for me because I was hurt and I had an opportunity in front of me. I tried to play a couple games after I got hurt and I could barely even move, and I knew I had to shut it down. Everybody was good to me. I was always battling back. I was just trying to get back healthy. If I’m healthy, I know I can play. There’s no denying that,” Henry added to Lakers.com.

In Henry’s year at KU (2009-10), the Jayhawks went 33-3 overall and won both the Big 12 regular-season (15-1) and postseason titles. KU fell to Northern Iowa in the second round of the NCAAs.

“It was unbelievable playing with the guys we had and under coach (Bill) Self. It was probably one of the most fun years of my life,” Henry said. “For the whole year, I got better and I tried to prove a point that this is my game. It’s funny to look back that I’m not old, but only four years out of college.”

Henry tweeting: Henry, perhaps signaling his new start in a major media market, has signed up for Twitter. His handle is @xhenry7. He calls himself “shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers #Jayhawks.”

“Hey everybody thank you and I appreciate the support! It’ll be a great season! And I’m glad to be spending in it LA!! #LakerNation,” Henry wrote.

Rush needed in Chicago: ESPN.com’s Bradford Doolittle thinks the Chicago Bulls should try to trade for former KU guard Brandon Rush, about to start his first season with the rebuilding Utah Jazz.

“During Rush’s last two healthy seasons, he’s ranked in the top third of individual defenders by Synergy’s points per possession allowed,” Doolittle wrote. “On offense, he’s a career 41 percent shooter from deep, giving a healthy Rush a much-coveted skill set that you can plug into most any team. He’s seemed athletically capable of more on offense, but after four full seasons then an injured-wrecked campaign (at Golden State last year), we have to place him in the “is what he is” category.

“‘What he is’ would be useful to Chicago. The Bulls don’t have a pure shooting guard on the depth chart and are projected to rank 22nd in three-point accuracy. Most importantly, Rush plays enough defense to convince coach Tom Thibodeau to actually put him on the floor,” Doolittle added.

Decommits: Louisville has had two top preps decommit in the past several days. First, No. 31-rated Quentin Snider, 6-1 from Louisville’s Ballard High, decommitted on July 31 and has since committed to Illinois. On Friday, No. 22-rated JaQuan Lyle, 6-5 from Huntington (W.Va) Prep, originally from Evansville, Ind., decomitted from Rick Pitino’s Cardinal program.

Some recruiting analysts believe it is possible prospects Cliff Alexander of Chicago and Lyle will consider attending KU as a package deal.

College recruiters, by the way, cannot evaluate players at practices at Lyle’s Huntington Prep, Yahoo!Sports has reported. The NCAA has declared Huntington Prep and Findlay Prep in Nevada off limits at this time because they have been classified as “non scholastic.”

Yahoo said college coaches have been told by the NCAA ... “A team that is affiliated with a scholastic institution, but not subject to the rules and regulations of a scholastic governing body would be considered a nonscholastic team for purposes of applying the evaluation legislation set forth in Bylaw 13.1.7.8.1-(a). … At this time, the AMA staff has been presented fact situations involving two teams, Findlay Prep and Huntington Prep, and has determined that based on the facts presented and the above mentioned legislation and interpretation, both of those teams would be considered nonscholastic teams …”

KU freshman Andrew Wiggins attended Huntington Prep. No. 7-ranked Rashad Vaughn and No. 12 Kelly Oubre, who both are considering KU, attend Findlay Prep.

One coach told Yahoo he thought this would be cleared up within a few weeks and coaches would be allowed back at practices at these institutions.

Blackmon update: KU is one of many schools on the list for James Blackmon Jr., a 6-3 senior combo guard from Marion (Ind.) High who is ranked No. 23 in the Class of 2014 by Rivals.com. Blackmon, who recently decommitted from Indiana, still has IU on his list, plus KU, Kentucky, Michigan, Louisville, North Carolina, Michigan State and Florida State. KU figures to be a long shot considering Blackmon has made unofficial visits to Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky.

Comments

Dirk Andrews 7 months ago

Large doses of Hatorade being drank on here. Guarantee X can still hoop on anybody commenting on this page. Do I think he made the right decision to leave early, no, but what's done is done. He is a Jayhawk, and at the Legends of the Phog game was signing autographs and talking to all the fans. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm a true KU fan, no matter the sport, and I support our players during and after their KU careers. For the haters, get a hobby, or get a new team.

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Michael Pannacciulli 7 months ago

JayhawkFanToo

You may be right. My perception is only my perception based on what I read/saw...I prefer to be wrong, trust me. I was happy to see that he graduated though. Nevertheless I wish him well.

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Woody Cragg 7 months ago

OAD is dumber'n a fencepost. Make it at least 2 yrs or nothing at all. Get a reeeaaallllly good look at what you're paying for or just fugetaboutit & do the Groucho Marx & "throw the money out the window." (ridiculous innuendo) Is so funny how these NBA teams are just screwing themselves & are too stupid to know it.

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Ralster Jayhawk 7 months ago

Good luck to Xavier for success in LA, and hopefully stays healthy/recovers strong!

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William Blake 7 months ago

Here's a clip of Okafor battling with Alexander. It's a good clip to compare these two, even though Okafor is a 5 and Alexander is a 4.

What sticks out most to me is Alexander's play with his back to the goal in the post. He's a natural for running the CS hi/lo!

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Michael Pannacciulli 7 months ago

I'm fine with X trying to make an NBA career...but honestly he has never really endeaelred himself to the Jayhawk nation. We barely knew him. Not a bad dude, had some bad luck, was a bit of a diva -or at least that was my perception of him. Anyway, I am more interedted in the hear and near future with the Jayhawks. That quote from Lyle is interesting. Anyone have info and stats or stories about this kid? OCTOBER 4TH IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER...CAN'T WAIT.

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Benjamin Jones 7 months ago

If X is such great guy and true-blue Jayhawk, how come he didn't drop a dime on a long-distance return phone call to Bedore, but instead forced him to manufacture a story out of second-hand quotes from Lakers.com?

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yates33333 7 months ago

I hope all of this committing to KU turns out to be true. KU will surely Rock Chalk if that's the case, Great Job Bill.

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soapisurfriend 7 months ago

This Alexander/Lyle package to Kansas deal seems to be gaining some steam. Does that mean Lyle and not Oubre? Could they take them both? I still think Myles and Oubre would be huge and if they landed all four, it would mean Self is counting on two of Ellis, Selden, or Embiid declaring in addition to Wiggins and Black's graduation. Or I guess an Andrew White transfer possibly.

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William Blake 7 months ago

X is a quality guy... who got a rap from some Jayhawk fans, mostly because of his dad.

I'll always be pulling for X.

Rock Chalk, Xavier!

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oilguy 7 months ago

Call them "developmental games" - I guess there is an "exhibition game" classification so why not this too. It would also provide coaching experience for assistants.

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oilguy 7 months ago

There needs to be a system in college basketball where players who normally wouldn't get playing time actually get on the floor against competition. It would include all the players on the bench who have played less than 8 minutes in a prior game or might be transfers or redshirts. Call it "Junior Varsity" or what you will but allow those players who only play on scout teams or the last 40 seconds of blowouts some time. Don't count the results or have it hurt eligibility. Competition could be other similar teams or Junior Colleges - just don't make it count. Could even have shorter halves - anything to get players off the bench.

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mikehawk 7 months ago

Well, X's story is the perfect example of The Dilemma. What if the knee injury would have happened the next year at KU had he stayed? Would he have been the 12th pick the next year or the next? Would he have been able to be guaranteed the $7 million? If he had stayed one or two more years could he have made himself into a nationally known name as a collegian which would help NBA teams utilize his name for marketing to help sell tickets? Let's pose the question to ourselves. How many reading this would drop what we are currently doing if we got a call telling us if we will pick up and move to this new city and new job to do something we love and we are guaranteed to make $6 million? We are told the opportunity is right now, and it may come back to us in a year, but it well might not. Raise your hands if your answer is "no." X...I think you made the right decision. We Jayhawk fans just would have loved to see you in Allen one more year. Enjoy your life and thanks for continuing to identify yourself with the Jayhawk Nation.

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baldwinbulldawg 7 months ago

Henry wasn't NBA ready when he left, he should have stayed 2 or 3 years. Terrible rule anyway either go pro right out of high school or go to college and stay for at least 3 years

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jhawkrulz 7 months ago

This is a guy that has made over $5mm has a contract for nearly $1mm more, is a proud Jayhawk, see hashtag. It's about time KU gets away from him not being ready or leaving after one, and celebrating his successes. This is a good spot for him and if he has a great year, excellent things for the Jayhawk community.

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FarSideHawk 7 months ago

Here's an interesting excerpt from Lyle's story on ESPN:

Lyle, who said he may need until January or February to decide, indicated there is one school he'd have a difficult time turning down.

"It would probably be Kansas," Lyle said. "I like them a lot, and me and [assistant] coach [Jerrance] Howard had a relationship at Illinois and also when he was at SMU."

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romejhawk 7 months ago

I'm sure Carl will keep him from training camp, tell the newspaper that C.J is better than Steve Nash and insist Xavier should start over Kobe.

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Armen Kurdian 7 months ago

You weren't ready for the NBA Xavier...you should have stayed with Coach Self for three years. You'd be making a heck of a lot more money now.

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