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.


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, 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 “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

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:’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 … 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 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.


Armen Kurdian 7 years, 1 month ago

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

Keith Kienzle 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm always ready to make 3 million dollars playing a game I love.

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month ago

The issue isn't what they make in their first contract. The issue is what they get in their SECOND contract. Very few of these guys that left too early are playing well enough to warrant big contracts after their rookie contract ends. If they stayed in school, they would be able to produce immediately and warrant a nice fat second contract instead of scrambling to find a job.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

It is a tough call. Henry is getting a one-year shot at just a little over $900,000 while John Wall has just signed a contract worth 80 million. Both from the same class who both left after one year.

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month ago

NO ONE questioned whether Wall was ready to play at the NBA level right away. EVERYONE knew that Henry wasn't ready after one season.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

I actually agreed with most of your post but using absolutes such as "NO ONE" or "EVERYONE" is pretty ridiculous and makes it easy to undermine whatever point you're trying to make.

"Xavier Henry: High Ceiling, Low Bust Potential for the Smooth Lefty"

It looks as though "EVERYONE" doesn't agree with your statement.. only had 4 years of hindsight to get it right.

yates33333 7 years, 1 month ago

I wondered if he would have done better in the NBA if he had stayed with the KU program for two years longer. That we will never know. Three million plus in three years would be hard for anyone to turn down, except for a player like Wiggins. If Xavier is going to get 900 thou from the Lakers, they will not cut him next year. I think, and hope, he will do well with that team. He is a good fit for them as a back up guard. I think drgnslayr is correct. Xavier will be all right if he banked much of the $3 mill plus. Since Carl is worldly wise I think the son probably has used his income conservatively.

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 1 month ago

On the other hand, I'm finishing a 30 year teaching career and just passed the one million mark, lifetime, so it's hard to say.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure you weren't teaching for the outstanding pay and benefits and I bet you left a lot more lasting impressions and important life lessons then can be found in any school book.

I intended to make teaching my career but was recalled to active duty after two years of teaching but never made it back.. A non-combat injury took care of that.

Roman Castillo 7 years, 1 month 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.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

Carl said the contract was an insult and demanded it to be doubled..

FarSideHawk 7 years, 1 month 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."

Alex Peekeaton 7 years, 1 month ago

From Paul Biancardi (ESPN)....

"Jaquan Lyle de-committing to Ville will be a blessing for the Cards in the long run. 3 AAU teams/ 2 HS unfortunately not a stable situation."

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 1 month 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.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad he is a proud Jayhawk..even if it took Cal leaving Memphis to make it happen but so far his NBA career has not been what most analysts would call a success.

First, Henry needs to make the team. The Lakers also signed Shawne Williams plus they have Elias Harris, Ryan Kelly and Marcus Landry who will all compete for spots in camp.

Yeah..making 5.5 million in 3 years is great. Most of us dream of being able to do that..but for a one time lottery pick in the NBA?

Nope, not even close to being a success.

Ask John Wall, a player Henry was often compared to..he just signed a five-year, $80 million extension with the Wizards.

Dan Cook 7 years, 1 month ago

John Wall and Xavier Henry have never been similar type players, so who exactly would be comparing them?

I think the point made by jhawkrulz is maybe it's time more KU fans actually showed some support for Xavier as opposed to whining about his early departure. I agree with him and will be pulling hard for X to stay healthy.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

Two top 10 guards in the same recruiting class and you don't think they would have been compared? Considering the connections with Coach Cal (Kentucky's new coach who just left Memphis), I think it would be obvious that sportswriters, fans and others would do just that.

Have you ever heard of Seth Davis? He wrote this article for Sports Illustrated: "Wall gets all the pub, but Kansas frosh Henry is just as impressive"

Here is another article, this one by Bleacher Report. "John Wall, Xavier Henry, and the Jordan Brand All-Star Game"

Draft Express, ESPN, and countless sports forums all compared these two players.

I also wonder at who exactly did you think was whining over Xavier's not so successful NBA career? Does pointing out facts mean that you wouldn't want to see him turn his career around? Try thinking before posting.

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month ago

Making money isn't success. Being GOOD is success. Xavier was a good college player that would have been an awesome college player had he spent three years in college. This isn't about KU fans being bent out of shape because Henry "spurned" us. It is about Ku fans who actually have a clue about the development of a basketball player and the long term implications of stunting that development by going to the NBA too early.

The NBA is not where you go to develop as a young player. I can say with 99% certainty that Henry would be a MUCH better player now if he had spent the last three years of his career on campus at Kansas than if he had spent them riding the pie with a crappy team in New Orleans/wherever else he got shuttled around to.

The money would have been there after those three years and he would have been MUCH more prepared to land a large contract after his rookie contract ended versus taking a scrub contract to sit on the bench in LA like he just signed.

Too many kids take the FAST money and miss a shot at the BIG money. Contract #2, #3 etc... is where the money is at in the NBA. Rookie contracts are chump change in their business.

baldwinbulldawg 7 years, 1 month 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

Evan Bilyeu 7 years, 1 month ago

I am pretty glad its a rule, otherwise we most likely wouldn't have gotten Wiggins.

mikehawk 7 years, 1 month 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.

oilguy 7 years, 1 month 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.

oilguy 7 years, 1 month 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.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

His dad certainly didn't help him much at Kansas nor with the NBA and his holding out on signing his rookie contract with Memphis.

After opting out of Memphis to go to Kansas you would have thought he would have handled his contract with the Grizzlies a little bit more class. Not surprised he was traded after one year.

soapisurfriend 7 years, 1 month 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.

yates33333 7 years, 1 month 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.

Benjamin Clay Jones 7 years, 1 month 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

Michael Pannacciulli 7 years, 1 month 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.

JayHawkFanToo 7 years, 1 month ago

You are equating Xavier with his father and he is not a diva. X has been back to Lawrence and at AFH many times and he has always spoken highly of KU and his time in Lawrence. Obviously, your perception has no basis in reality.

JayHawkFanToo 7 years, 1 month ago

Alexander looks like the stronger player and his baby hook is pretty good.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 1 month ago

I'd rather get Alexander. We need a 4 more than a 5. If Joel leaves we still have Mickelson and Lucas at the 5. I believe Ellis stays for his junior year and is gone so why not get Alexander. Who knows though,just bring in the talent Bill and I'm sure things will get figured out.

Woody Cragg 7 years, 1 month 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.

Michael Pannacciulli 7 years, 1 month ago


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.

JayHawkFanToo 7 years, 1 month ago

It is news to me that Xavier graduated; it would indeed be quite a feat considering that he attended KU only one year. Cole Aldrich on the other hand did graduate after leaving early; maybe he is the one you meant.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

X hasn't picked up a book since his first semester at KU..none without pictures anyways.

Dirk Andrews 7 years, 1 month 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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