Archive for Saturday, February 6, 2010

Henry looking to regain touch vs. NU

Kansas forward Xavier Henry pulls up for a shot during warmups before tipoff against Colorado, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 at the Coors Event Center in Boulder.

Kansas forward Xavier Henry pulls up for a shot during warmups before tipoff against Colorado, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 at the Coors Event Center in Boulder.

February 6, 2010


KU looks to sweep series with Nebraska

The Jayhawks return to the Phog Saturday to take on the Cornhuskers in round two of the regular-season series. Kansas won the first meeting. Enlarge video

Xavier Henry’s coaches and teammates tell him there’s one sure-fire way to break out of a slump.

“Keep shooting,” said Kansas University’s 6-foot-6 freshman guard, who plans to do just that during today’s 5 p.m. home battle against Nebraska, Monday night’s contest at Texas and down the line the rest of the 2009-10 basketball season.

“They say, ‘Keep playing, keep going to the rim, keep going hard.’ So that’s what I’m going to do,” Henry added.

The sweet-shooting, high-scoring McDonald’s All-American out of Putnam City (Okla.) High, who averaged 15.7 points a game off 49.1 percent shooting in 15 nonconference games, has dipped to 7.7 points a game off 28.8 percent marksmanship in seven Big 12 contests.

He has cashed nine of 35 three-pointers (25.7 percent) in Big 12 play after canning 33 of 72 (45.8) during the nonconference season.

“Yeah, a little bit,” Henry said Friday, asked if he has paid any attention to his recent scoring numbers and shooting percentages, “but I’ve just got to keep playing hard. I’ve been working hard on defense, so I’ve been having better defensive games and stuff. The offense will come around.

“I think I could have a breakout game any time now. It’s just a matter of time. I’ll play well soon enough. I’m not even stressed about it.”

KU coach Bill Self has not lost any sleep over Henry’s recent struggles on the offensive end of the floor.

“He hasn’t made shots. But he’s a good shooter that hasn’t made shots. If he was a bad shooter that hadn’t made shots, then you’d worry about it,” Self said. “When he comes out of it, he’ll come out of it in a big way.”

Self has been around long enough to realize that, for whatever reason, shooters get in funks.

“I watched a great player last night they were saying was shooting under 30 percent in league play from three, and he goes 8-for-10,” Self said of Duke’s Kyle Singler. “He’s going to have a bust-out game (eventually).”

Self has been quite pleased with aspects of Henry’s game that do not involve shooting and scoring.

“I think he’s obviously a better defender (than he was in high school). I think he has a better feel on how to play,” Self said. “I think he’s learned how to make others better and play with other good players. He’s done a lot of things well.

“I do think so much of his game is predicated on scoring, in his mind he’s probably not playing well unless he’s making shots. In our mind, you can play fine and not make shots. Scorers have that mind-set that that’s what they do. If his confidence has fallen a little bit, we need to make sure we do everything we can to get it picked back up.”

Sounding confident in a short chat with reporters before practice Friday, Henry stressed that he has been putting in overtime working on his game.

“I go over film with ‘D. Mann’ (assistant Danny Manning), just watch it and watch when I quick-release it,” Henry said. “Some things I do while I’m shooting ... it looks like I’m not concentrating as much as usual. I’ve just got to keep practicing hard.”

Henry said he has been in shooting slumps before.

And after this one, regrettably he’ll at some point enter one again.

“It’s a thing that happens (to shooters). Mine is happening now,” Henry said. “I’m practicing as hard as I can so I can get out of it.”

He said it’s encouraging that his coach hasn’t lost faith in him.

“That’s always good,” said Henry, who scored six points off 2-of-8 shooting in KU’s 84-72 victory over Nebraska on Jan. 13 in Lincoln. “That means I’m still bringing something else to the table other than just my offense. I’m starting to take more pride in defense and stuff like that.”

Of course, he wouldn’t mind scoring in double figures as soon as today. He has hit for single digits in five of seven conference games after scoring 10 or more points in 14 of 15 non-con clashes.

“He’s in a little bit of a slump now. He’s a freshman. You will have ups and downs as a freshman,” junior Tyrel Reed said. “You talk to him, tell him it’s going to be all right. He’s a great player. He will come out of this fine. Once he does, he’ll be even better.”

“He’s fine,” Self said. “He’s a great kid, has a great heart. He thinks the right thoughts. He wants to do all he can to give us the best chance to win. He’ll come out of this, going through things all freshmen go through a little bit.”


Lee Eldridge 8 years, 4 months ago

Maybe he's not quite as NBA ready as he thought?

georgiahawk 8 years, 4 months ago

So! Be a true fan and get behind him! My guess is that he would have to have a phenomenal year to be taken very high in the draft and one more year here might mean millions to him. I personally will be glad if he stays one more year and lives up to his potential while a Jayhawk. Go X!

JerseyJim 8 years, 4 months ago

Not a slump...No right hand and opponents know it. Advise him to stay and let Bill show him how to shoot a layup right handed...things will open up then...including NBA wallets.

jonas_opines 8 years, 4 months ago

Things probably came easy for him at the HS level, now he's having to work for it, and it's clear that his confidence has been damaged. Once he snaps out of it, he'll be really dangerous. Hopefully it happens this year still. Plenty of opportunities still for it to happen.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

Everybody already knows that he can score, and everybody knows that all shooters have their occasional slumps, and that includes NBA scouts, coaches and general managers.

What they want to know in watching this season is whether he can get better at other aspects of the game, and so far, he's doing exactly that.

I believe he's started every game this season, and as long as he continues to do so, that means Self sees much more in his abilities and performance than just how many points he's scoring.

ku_tailg8 8 years, 4 months ago

I can't figure out why he was lauded so highly. I think Morningstar has been a better addition (suspension) then Henry but since he is hyped so much and black he will still go in the NBA draft. If the guy can't show up in important games then why would the NBA want him? I love KU but this team has me swirling b/c there are guys I don't like because of off the court incidents and I told a friend that this team is hard to like. They don't play together and the chemistry is lacking. I love Self b/c he has tried to bench these guys but it just hasn't translated. Take it from me, when the Chiefs were 8-0 I called a local sports radio station and complained about how they were playing and they blew me off. We lost in the 1st round. It will happen early for us this year but thankfully there is no dominant team. I just don't want to be the first #1 to lose to a #16 seed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"Henry but since he is hyped so much and black he will still go in the NBA draft."

What a ridiculous statement.

"Take it from me, when the Chiefs were 8-0 I called a local sports radio station and complained about how they were playing and they blew me off."

If your comments here are indicative of what you said on the radio, who can blame them?

riverdrifter 8 years, 4 months ago

Henry can still one & done if he wants. This is because unlike the NFL the NBA will draft high and pay big money based on potential and not actual production. Self does need this guy to step it up here in the next two months.

Robert Holmes 8 years, 4 months ago

X will be fine. Wall only had 6 tonight and even though he's scoring more for Kentucky he's also got a ridiculous amount of turnovers too.

I honestly think X needs one more year to hone in his skills but I'm also guessing his father will not allow him to return. Hang in there X, it'll come around. If you've ever talked to or met this kid, he's a great person!

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