Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Xavier and C.J. Henry have decided to play for Kansas, a source with knowledge of their decision said.
“They’re going to end up going to Kansas,” the source said.
Xavier, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard ranked No. 3 in the Class of 2009 by Rivals, will hold a press conference at 11:15 a.m. Thursday in the East Gym at Putnam City (Ok.) High School, according to Putnam coach A.D. Burtschi.
Burtschi said he had not spoken with Xavier or Carl Henry about the decision, but said Xavier would be a tremendous addition to his future university.
“After having coached the young man for four years and watch him be a significant part of our two state championships, and being around him as a person and a player, I think he’s going to be a phenomenal player at the next level,” Burtschi said. “He’s going to bring a lot to the table.”
Kansas will be the favorite to win its second NCAA championship in three years next year with the return of guard Sherron Collins and big man Cole Aldrich.
“It means a lot to me that they’re going to try and stay and win it all,” Xavier said in an interview with The Shiver.
“I think you talked about a lot of really good guys and you’re going to add a another great player [in Henry],” Burtschi said. “A guy who can really shoot it. The guy can score off the dribble, he can create for others. He’s got some things he”s got to work on but what high school player doesn’t?
“He wants to get better. He’s extremely coachable. He puts endless hours into his game every day. He wants to give back to the game.”
Xavier initially signed with Memphis over Kansas last fall, but asked for his release after John Calipari took the Kentucky job.
The brothers considered Kentucky this time around, but in the end decided not to visit the campus. Xavier has his prom this weekend and can’t make the trip.
“They’re not visiting,” Carl said Tuesday by phone. “[Xavier’s] going to a prom Friday.”
His older brother, C.J. Henry, was a walk-on at Memphis last season whose tuition is being paid by the Yankees because he is a former Yankees farmhand. He will need to file an appeal with the NCAA to be allowed to play immediately next year.
If not, he would have to sit out a season, meaning he would not be able to play with Xavier if Xavier ends up being a one-and-done to the NBA.
It seems unlikely that the NCAA would grant such a waiver because there is no family emergency or anything of that nature.
With the Henrys headed to Kansas, the next domino to fall should be Brooklyn’s Lance Stephenson, a McDonald’s All-American and the all-time leading scorer in New York State history.
Maryland coach Gary Williams flew up to meet with him last week at his Coney Island home and hopes to have Stephenson play with Lincoln teammate James Padgett.
Stephenson also had an official visit to St. John’s last weekend that apparently went well.
The question now becomes: Does Lance want to stay in New York and play near family and friends, and in the pressure-cooker of New York City, or does he want to get away?
“I don’t know what’s going on in his head, but he’s gotta make a decision,” Henry said of Stephenson Saturday night in an interview shown on The Shiver.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.