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.
DETROIT – Carl Henry will meet with both of his sons, Xavier and C.J., today in Oklahoma City to discuss their futures now that John Calipari has taken the Kentucky job.
It is possible both brothers could end up at Kentucky or Kansas. Their decision, in turn, will have a domino effect on other recruits, including Brooklyn’s Lance Stephenson.
“We won’t know until Thursday what Xavier is going to do,” Carl said by phone.
One thing’s for sure: the Henry brothers won’t remain at Memphis.
“I won’t be attending Memphis,” Xavier told KUSports.com. “I have to open my eyes and find a new place, a new home.”
Xavier Henry, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, has been in Miami at the McDonald’s All-American Game, where he scored 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting and had five rebounds.
Xavier chose Memphis over Kansas last November, and Kansas is interested in having both brothers join the team.
C.J. initially committed to Kansas as a high school senior but then signed a pro baseball contract with the Yankees. As part of that agreement, the Yankees pay his tuition wherever he attends. So he would be a walk-on at Kansas or Kentucky.
Xavier asked for his release from Memphis on Wednesday and would have to receive that before he can go anywhere.
“I can’t speak for them,” Carl said of his sons. “They gotta tell me if they want to go to Kentucky, or where they want to go to school.”
Xavier said he spoke to Calipari Tuesday and remains open.
“He just told me that he was leaving Memphis and that Kentucky was his dream school and he just didn’t want me to feel betrayed for him leaving Memphis,” Henry told the Daily News. “He should follow his dreams just like I’m following mine, and if we cross paths and I go to Kentucky it’s still a good thing.”
Carl said Calipari is interested in having both sons come to Kentucky, but publicly Calipari is saying all the right things.
“At this point right now I cannot call any players — nor will I — that have signed with the University of Memphis,” Calipari said at a press conference in Lexington. “I’m not allowed to; it’s against the NCAA rules.
“What I would hope is that all of the players who signed with Memphis would go to Memphis. That’s what I hope.”
DeMarcus Cousins, a 6-10 center from Mobile (Ala.) LeFlore orally committed to Memphis last month, but did not sign and could follow Calipari to Kentucky. He also considered Kansas State and Washington initially.
John Wall, a 6-4 point guard from Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God, had been leaning toward Memphis but told me he might follow Calipari to Kentucky.
“Probably so, yeah,” he said Tuesday by phone. “I probably would [follow Calipari]. I really have to sit down and talk to my family and all that.”
Wall is also considering Baylor, Duke, Miami and N.C. State. He said he plans to cut his list by the Jordan Brand Classic at Madison Square Garden April 18, but also plans to visit Miami the weekend of April 24.
Meantime, Calipari seemed to give fair warning to the Kentucky players that he might run some of them off.
“I just told the team, ‘If you cannot play, come and see me because this isn’t the right program because I can’t hide you,'” he said.
As for Kentucky’s incoming recruits and potential future players, Calipari added:
“If they’re good enough to play here and help us win national titles, I want you here,” he said of the Kentucky recruits. “If they’re not, I’m going to tell them.”
And then, of course, there is the Stephenson saga.
He announced Tuesday that he wouldn’t be committing to Kansas or anywhere until he figured things out.
If Xavier Henry gets his release and winds up at Kansas, it’s hard to imagine the Jayhawks taking the 6-5 Stephenson as well. They wouldn’t need both wing players.
Stephenson had 12 points, six assists and four rebounds in the McDonald’s Game as the East won 113-110.
“Lance and his pops are saying they want to take their time, which is what they’ve told SLAM as well, though I have to believe the Coach Cal-to-Kentucky move is a big factor,” wrote Ben Osborne of SLAM Magazine. “Coach Cal’s defection could have all sorts of domino effects, recruiting wise, including our man Xavier maybe reconsidering Kansas, which would make Lance and Kansas reconsider each other.”
That, in turn, could lead Stephenson to end up at Maryland or St. John’s…or possibly Kentucky if Calipari reaches out.
(Photos courtesy Rivals, Getty Images)
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.