Bill Self (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
News and quotes on KU freshman Xavier Henry and Kansas basketball while wishing ‘X' best wishes as he embarks on his NBA career in 2010-11. Henry declared for the NBA Draft Wednesday and plans to hire an agent. He becomes the first Jayhawk ever to leave for the NBA after his freshman season.
OUTSTANDING YOUNG MAN
KU coach Bill Self said Henry was a joy to coach.
“He’s the best kid, the best student,” Self said. “He came from a
situation (out of high school) in which there were some rumors and
thoughts about him and his commitment and that kind of stuff, but none
of it ever came (true). I thought he handled everything beautifully.”
Self knew when he signed Henry that he’d likely be one and done.
“I’d put four years into recruiting ‘X' if we could get him for one,
because I know what kind of kid he is,” Self said. “But I don’t think
you can build a program on one and done guys, because turnover would be
too great. We wouldn’t have been 33-3 if he hadn’t come to Kansas, so
he was very good for us.”
Both on and off the court.
“I told 'X' this, if my son would grow up as a person to be like him
from a spirit standpoint and a heart standpoint, then my wife and
myself would be ecstatic because he has about as good a spirit and as
good a heart as any kid I’ve ever coached,” Self said. “He’s a pleaser.
He wants to do what’s right, he wants people to like him, he wants to
make others happy. What you saw today (from Henry’s emotional and
tearful press conference) is ‘X’, that’s what we see all the time. You
just don’t see it during the 40 minutes of the game.”
HENRY’S GOT NBA GAME
Self said Henry will do fine in the NBA.
”I think he’ll be a good player,” Self said. ”I think he’s got a
position. There’s so many guys out there that play that don’t have a
position. He’s a 6-6 two guard. He’s a guy that you can put in a corner
if you want to. You can double team the post and he can shoot the ball
out of rotations. He can do a lot of things.
“The other thing is he’s got where he defends pretty well. For a
freshman, I thought he got pretty good defensively because he had a
long ways to go when we started. He doesn’t play to his athletic
ability as much as I want, but they’ll teach him to do that. His ball
skills are good, but they’re going to get better. He’s going to have
six hours a day to work on it. I think he’s just scratching the surface
of what he can do.”
LITTLE & RELEFORD
READY TO STEP UP
Henry’s leaving KU opens the door for Mario Little and Travis Releford
to get some major minutes next year. They both redshirted his past
season. Little will be entering his senior year, while Releford will be
a sophomore next season.
“I love Mario and Travis. I think they both got guts," Self said. "I
told Mario, I was joking with him yesterday. I said, ‘hey we’re playing
with live bullets next year. If you don’t play well in practice this
year, what’s the punishment? We’re playing with live bullets (in
2010-11).’ He said, ‘I know coach. I’ll be ready.’ I do believe that. I
think these kids are tough, and I think they’ve both gotten a lot
READY TO RELOAD
Self isn’t thinking of rebuilding next season after losing stars Henry,
Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins. He’s all about reloading.
“You lose three players of their caliber, you think initially we can’t
be as good,” Self said. “But I think (junior-to-be) Marcus Morris may
be the best player in our league coming back. There’s some good things
going on. We need to have a good spring recruiting period. We’re going
to replace some really good talent with some talented kids, too. It’s
going to be interesting to see how everything comes together.”
BACK OFF RECRUITERS
Self had an interesting take when asked if Henry leaving after one year
will attract more one and done players to KU.
“I think that’s one thing that has been used against us recruiting from
other schools that have is ‘Self has never had a one and done guy, why
would you want to go there?’” Self said. “Or 'they’ll hold you back
there', that kind of stuff, which is ridiculous talk because you guys
know me well enough to know if a guy can help us win games, I could
care less. I think there will be one thing people can’t use against us
because of that, but still I don’t know if that is a help or not
because if a kid is basing his decision whether or not a young man
leaves after one year is ridiculous, I think.”
C.J. READY FOR NEXT YEAR
Self discussed freshman guard C.J. Henry’s future plans after his
younger brother Xavier’s press conference.
“He’s excited about next year,” Self said about C.J, who played limited
minutes this season due to injuries. “Things can always change, but
he’s certainly excited about what’s going on with our program. We’ve
talked a lot and he’s out there busting his butt trying to get 100
percent healthy and get his rhythm so we can see where he stands. It’s
hard for him right now to see exactly where he stands in relationship
to everybody else because we haven’t seen him be 100 percent healthy
over an extended period of time. But he’s a talent. I’ve said all
along, he’s a talent. He just needs a good spring and a good summer to
get back healthy and get his rhythm back.”
Self has two scholarships to give in the spring signing period after
already signing guard Royce Woolridge from Phoenix, Ariz., in November.
“I would anticipate more than likely signing one with a a chance of
signing two,” Self said.