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Archive for Saturday, November 14, 2009

X-cellent debut

Henry nets 27, record

Kansas forward Xavier Henry elevates for a three-pointer over Hofstra guard Nathaniel Lester during the second half, Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse. Henry scored 27 in his freshman debut.

Kansas forward Xavier Henry elevates for a three-pointer over Hofstra guard Nathaniel Lester during the second half, Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse. Henry scored 27 in his freshman debut.

November 14, 2009

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Xavier Henry sets record in debut

Xavier Henry set a new record for points scored by a freshman in their debut. X. Henry recorded 27 points and five rebounds in the Jayhawks' route of Hofstra. Enlarge video

It took much-hyped freshman sensation Xavier Henry all of one game to etch his name into Kansas University’s storied basketball record books.

“I never really think about that stuff, but down the road I bet I’ll think about it and be proud of it,” the 6-foot-6, 220-pound McDonald’s All-American said after erupting for 27 points while playing 24 minutes of the Jayhawks’ 101-65 season-opening victory over Hofstra on Friday in Allen Fieldhouse.

It was the most points scored by a freshman in his debut in KU history, surpassing the 21 points netted by Norm Cook against Murray State back in 1973.

“Of course it was Xavier’s night,” KU coach Bill Self said after watching the rookie hit eight of 12 shots, including five of eight three-pointers. He also cashed six of six free throws. “I told him after the game that it was a freshman record and congratulations, but not to get too cocky.

“It’s a great performance. It’s not the best performance by a first-year guy, ’cause Wilt went for 52,” he added of Wilt Chamberlain riddling Northwestern back in 1956 in his sophomore-season debut.

Remember, freshmen were ineligible at the time.

“I’m happy for him. He’s a natural scorer. He has been kind of thinking instead of playing. Tonight he played instead of thought, which was a good thing. He looked more fluid tonight,” added Self, who said Henry also performed well defensively.

Henry, who combined for 24 points off 42.9 percent shooting in KU’s two exhibition victories, said he wasn’t trying to lead the way on a night Sherron Collins scored 23 points, Cole Aldrich hit for 11 points and eight rebounds and Tyshawn Taylor helped clamp down on junior guard Charles Jenkins, who scored 23 points, but just five the first half as KU blazed to a 48-27 halftime lead.

“I’m trying to pick my spots. I’m not trying to be a ball-hog. I’m more a team player. l like playing with my own team,” Henry said. “I’ve got a big man All-American, a point guard All-American. I’m not supposed to be out there doing all that. I’m trying to fit in and be aggressive at the same time.”

Henry’s attitude shows in his desire to play defense.

“I’ve gotten way better since high school,” he said. “I get in people’s heads and get in real tight. I like to play defense now. It’s going to be a good deal for me this year.”

Of course, Self has encouraged the player to learn defense quickly.

“He’s been tough on me about everything,” Henry said. “It’ll help me come along faster. I accept it (coaching) and try harder. If he didn’t do it, I’d feel lackadaisical and stuff. I don’t want to feel like that. I want to feel pressure all the time.”

As Self said, though, Henry is a natural scorer.

“I see it a lot,” Marcus Morris said of Henry lighting it up at practice. “(But) not like that. He makes a few, but definitely not like that. He doesn’t get them in a row like that, either.”

Told about Morris’ comments, Henry said jokingly, “Man, Marcus, that’s what a hater is. If y’all don’t know what a hater is, that’s a hater. A shot will be on and off. You can’t control that. Tonight it luckily was on.”

Henry hit three threes in the first five minutes of the second half.

“I tell him, ‘You can’t shoot a bad shot,’’’ senior guard Collins said, encouraging the lefty to fire away when open from anywhere on the court.

Henry also had two breakaway dunks Friday. He put them both down with two hands. They thrilled the crowd because of their force, but they were definitely of the simple variety.

“I was nervous making sure I didn’t dribble it off my foot and fall,” Henry said. “Once I got to the rim, I just wanted to put it in. You’ll see different things when I’m relaxed. Tonight I was stressed out for a little bit.”

He said the best thing about the game was not his exploding on the scene, but the fact KU is 1-0 heading into Tuesday’s 9 p.m. game against Memphis in St. Louis.

“Everybody on this team is not too into themselves. We just know we want to win. That’s what our goal is, to be 40-0 and not for everybody to go to the NBA or average 30. Our goal is to win it all, and we know how to do that,” Henry said.

Comments

RiverCityConservative 5 years, 1 month ago

Rock chalk. Looks like it's going to be a great year. Nice, thoughtful comments from Xavier Henry. Bill Self sure has turned out to be a great coach. Go Hawks!

nbnozzy 5 years, 1 month ago

Hofstra is a good team and I think they will have a very successful season. However, watching them get beat by such an astounding KU team was impressive. I see why the Jayhawks are pre-season #1. Some turnover problems early in the game for Kansas, but after that, it was a schooling lesson for the "Pride".

I was also happy to see Self put in some players that probably won't see much playing time once the Big 12 games start.

puddleglum 5 years, 1 month ago

very mature interview.

Xavier is the perfect fit for this team.

I'd hate to be the opposing coach and come up with a double team strategy. Double up on Cole? you kinda have to. Double up on Xavier? good luck. Double up on Sherron? uh, three players can't stop him-he has proven that over and over. Ignore thomas Robinson? obviously you can't do that. Elijah Johnson? he is 100% O.G. scoring machine. The twins? knocking down outside 15-footers and a real sweet off-baseline jumper (manning-style) has developed both of 'em into solid scorers-they will just keep getting better. oh yeah, don't forget the hero of last year's oklahoma game: tyshawn taylor. Full of skill and looking like he picked up some defense from Chalmers this summer. I also applaud the effort from Reed-loose balls/tie-ups and hussle. Good luck to harrison Barnes. UNC is gonna need him.

sundancewierdo 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm so excited for the boys. We have such a deep bench, foul trouble won't be an issue. Every big man we play this year will have to earn thier points at the free throw line. It sure is nice to have such a well rounded "team" effort displayed. Not to mention the two best blocks of the night came from the bench (reed, tehan), that got me off the couch and cheering.

hbjayhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

Kudos to Xavier. You have your head in the right place. Continue to represent us with pride. Also, great job Hawks. We are going to be very difficult to beat. We need to travel in droves to our road games and support this team because a 40-0 season could be possible. Let's support Xavier's goal!

cg1029 5 years, 1 month ago

Just wondering where all of the people who were talking smack about X this summer are now? Nobody wants to agrue that he wont start from day one? Or that Reed will play more then X because he has expierance? Said it before say it again X will dominate from day one more so then any KU player other the Paul Pierce.

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