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I Hope Bill Self Is Right...

I've had reservations about Xavier Henry coming to KU since the day John Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky and the Henry Bros. recruiting opened back up. And after reading a piece in the KC Star on Sunday about the Henry Bros. reason for working out in OKC rather than Lawrence with the rest of what is expected to be a Preseason #1 Team, I have one thought that keeps bouncing around in my head - I hope Bill Self is right.

With Lance Stephenson in the bag - and yes, I know of everything that's been written about him - KU had a kid with incredible game, lots to prove both on and off the court, was developing a friendship with Sherron Collins, and most importantly to me, he wanted to be in Lawrence.

Instead, Bill Self and KU are taking on two guys who have absolutely no desire to be in Lawrence. I understand that neither Henry Brother wants to take summer classes, and Xavier doesn’t want to play college ball and would rather be playing in Europe where at least he could make some money, but it was not knowing where he would play in Europe that turned out to be the deciding factor for Xavier and Carl. The article made it clear that the Henry Bros. will be in Lawrence until the moment the season ends, and then it’s off to the NBA.

Don’t be surprised if the HB’s don’t bother to even unpack the boxes – then again, they may bring just enough with them to get through the basketball season.

“Let’s see,” Xavier says, “I’ve got boxers, socks, shorts, practice jerseys, my bling, some sweat pants, some hoodies, few pairs of kicks and my trophy from the LeBron Camp… Can’t forget my retainer… Whoops, almost forgot the keys to my Hummer, wait, these are CJ’s Range Rover keys, oh well, we might as well ride up their together, it’s not like we’re gonna be there long.”

I don’t have a problem with the Henrys being one-and-done, that’s their prerogative and it’s a byproduct of the NBA rule, although CJ isn’t held to that rule given his age. But Bill Self has signed on to it, and his judgment when recruiting has been stellar in six years at Kansas. But I get the feeling when reading about the Henrys is they feel they’re bigger than the Kansas program, and Kansas should feel privileged just getting the HBs. That’s what bothers me.

Carl has this Earl Woods-like obsession with making his sons professionals now, and I don’t have a problem with that either, because it turned out well for Tiger. But even Tiger went to Stanford and bonded with teammates. Problem with the HBs, is that Carl is treating them like professionals, but they aren’t yet. Sure, CJ was a professional baseball player, but he’s not anymore. He’s a 23-year-old who hasn’t played a competitive basketball game in four years, yet Carl makes us believe that CJ is going to run circles around guys like Sherron and Tyshawn as though they’re Putnam JV guys.

Then there’s the matter of the “coach being on board” with the Henrys’ plan. What exactly does that mean? Since when does a coach have to be on board at a program like Kansas? I wonder if Lance Stephenson Sr., who has taken a brunt of criticism for his handling of his son’s recruitment, made a similar pitch to Bill Self or Danny Manning, who was in NYC quite frequently watching Lance leading up to what was supposed to be Lance’s decision to attend Kansas the morning of the Mickey D’s All-American Game.

I can understand if a “coach needs to be on board” at a program like Kansas State or even Memphis, but Kansas? Is that how bad Self wanted these two?

So here’s the deal – while Tyshawn is representing his country playing ball overseas, Sherron is back in Lawrence with his teammates, including sure-fire lottery pick Cole Aldrich, Marcus Morris continues to get better and drops hints this summer that he could be a double-double threat at the 3 or 4 next season, Jeff Withey continues to pack on pounds and get better, and frosh Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson are working with their teammates to get better and prepare for the season – the HBs are off doing their own thing, “training like professionals.”

Thing is, what made that 2007-2008 team so special, sure, there were professionals on that team, but they put all that off and sacrificed for the sake of the team. They worked together as Kansas Jayhawks and when everybody wrote them off after the Davidson win, that they were the weakest team in the Final Four, they bonded together and played two incredible games of basketball that only a collection of guys all buying in to the same goal could accomplish.

There’s too much “I” and “me” coming from the HBs right now that gives me reason to believe they’re willing to sacrifice for the “team.” And I’m sure there are KU fans that will bellow, “Self knows what he’s doing, and he’s going to get the Henry Bros. to buy in,” or “Sherron and Cole are the leaders and they’ll take control.”

You can only lead those who are willing to be led – and the HBs weren’t even willing to work out with their future teammates over the summer. Maybe this is much ado about nothing, but egos can be a very dangerous thing – and all it takes is two professional egos to ruin what could be another magical season.

Is there any guarantee Lance wouldn't have been a problem? Nope. But I will maintain until the end - he wanted to be a Jayhawk. I sure hope Bill Self knows what he’s doing.

;

Comments

Fred Davis 4 years, 9 months ago

Jayhawktonie - you made my day this morning when I saw that... Well, Carl has apologized since, the HBs are staying and I guess all is right in Jayhawk Country? Oh, and now Xavier might show up for the second summer session... My how things can change. This is good news for Jayhawk Basketball, and I like every other KU fan am ready to put my energy into a KU Football Team that could be headed to another BCS Bowl, and at the very least, a Big 12 Championship date with Texas... And then we get to watch what should be the best basketball team in the country try to get back to the Final Four. Again - this is only July 2, so a lot can change, but given what's transpired over the past 96 hours, this is as good a conclusion as I think anybody could've asked for... Now let's see what happens when these guys actually get on the court.

Rock Chalk

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jayhawktownie 4 years, 9 months ago

this post got linked to by deadspin

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Christopher Hauser 4 years, 9 months ago

I am going to just think about football the rest of the summer, I am tired of this crap. I hope HCBS is tired of it too.

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Christopher Hauser 4 years, 9 months ago

The Henry's are meeting today to make a decision on Kansas or Kentucky (says 610 sports). Rivals just reported that HCBS and Manning are on a flight to OKC right now for the meeting. WTF-over

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Fred Davis 4 years, 9 months ago

I get it that Bill Self and Carl are friends, and Carl happens to have two sons that can ball, but Self has made a huge mistake here and that mistake is amplified every time Carl opens his mouth. I don't care if he went to KU or not, he's living vicariously through his sons to their detriment. This pursuit of the Henrys has been an absolute clown show, and Carl is the driving the car. I wouldn't be surprised at this point if the Henry Bros. both end up leaving Kansas, which would be unfortunate for them, but there's always been this tinge of uncertainty about whether Xavier would really ever wind up in Lawrence, and I'm not so sure he will now.

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MitchumMan 4 years, 9 months ago

Just heard an interview on 610 Sports with Carl Henry. Sounds like Xavier wants to play for UK...not KU? Carl is being a drama queen right now, not Xavier. Carl needs to stay his butt away from the media and let his family figure out for sure what they are doing instead of bringing all of this attention to his kids. Xavier is young and it's only natural that he is unsure about which school is the best for him. It's a HUGE decision! If he doesn't end up at KU so be it. I want him here more than anybody but kids are kids. Let them learn for themselves. Carl, sit your butt on the couch and shut up! We'll find out eventually what your son really wants to do.

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craigers 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm fine with a parent being high on his kids but why would you say that you know they are better than the players already at the school and on the team? Why not just say, "Not many people know just how good CJ is. He will be challenging for playing time immediately." That would have been a good quote and wouldn't have pushed any fuel into the fire. Oh well, I will say that they will most certainly have their head on straight or get it knocked straight. We all know that if they are playing "me" ball all the time, then they will be sitting. Self has demonstrated the willingness to bench bigger and better talent to teach them a lesson and show they what he wants. I trust Self, but I also know that players that are very arrogant before playing any D1 games usually have their stuff handed back to them in order for them to grow up. It will be a fun season, that's for sure.

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homer1986 4 years, 9 months ago

The thing I hold onto is that the negative media is still primarily from Carl (and Carl, we loved you then). There aren't many direct quotes from Xavier and C.J., so I'm holding out that these two young men will still show up in August with great attitudes, ready to work as a team toward winning a championship. What limited I know about the boys is that they've worked hard and had good attitudes in the games and camps in which I know they've participated. I am disappointed that they aren't here now bonding with the team, but I have no doubt that they will show up in great shape. Coach Self isn't going to stand for anything less than 100% commitment to the KU, the team, and the team goals, so once they're here, I have every reason to believe we're going to have a great season. Rock Chalk!

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sfbevo 4 years, 9 months ago

I hope the Journal-World sees the newsworthiness of this story and uses its' persuasion to get Bill Self's side of the story. If you read newspapers and listen to radio, read the internet one could state it was a major revelation from a high profile recruit's parent about their attending KU.

Get on board Gary.

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Jaminrawk 4 years, 9 months ago

I was initially a little put off by the KC Star article as well, however I processed it and came to a few realitizations. Of course they have an eye on the NBA but anyone that knows anythng about the Henry brothers knows they want to win games. Xavier was one of the few kids in the McDonald's All-American game that was actually trying to play a team game. Face the truth, if the NBA age limit wasn't there, Xavier would be on an NBA team right now. He is arguably the most polished recruit KU has ever seen. As for Kentucky, the guys connected with Cal and wanted to play for him, but in the end are coming here. We should just be happy that we get them for at least a year and look forward to what should be a remarkable year.

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dynomitehawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Henrys - can't wait to see you in crimson and blue. The KC Star article does not represent the majority of us and our excitment to see you here! Keep working hard, because boot camp will make your summer workouts seem like Disney World.

Rock Chalk

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suttonku 4 years, 9 months ago

I think you gotta trust Bill Self here...he hasnt given us a reason not to...hes in communication with them and from what ive learned Xavier is looking better than ever and CJ is doing great and that means theyre doing their job...yes they could screw up the chemistry but that wont happen on Self's watch or Collins' watch...everyone is reading too much into this...they will be at KU next year and they will be in damn good shape as well...KU will go one to win the title and we will all be sippin champagne in early April 2010...plus what people arent talking about is the fact that Lance Stephenson hasnt committed anywhere yet...hes waiting to see if the Henrys are gonna stay or go and if they go we will get Lance so we are in good shape anyways but all the people I know on the inside are saying that the Henrys will be at KU next year 100%

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Jason Musick 4 years, 9 months ago

I was looking at the last article in the KC Star featuring the Henry Brothers, if you look at this photo. His Braces are off. You decide:

http://www.kansascity.com/934/gallery/1293259.html

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crmsnblu 4 years, 9 months ago

can't help but agree

i heard about this article on 810 am today. apparently carl has made a statement following this article stating that, everything in this article is untrue and that if this article reflects the views of folks around lawrence, his sons may feel this is where they want to be.

the whole deal can be read about at the shiver.com

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