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Archive for Friday, January 22, 2010

KU’s Xavier Henry excelling on defense

Kansas guard Xavier Henry reaches for a steal against Central Arkansas guard Imad Qahwash during the second half, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Xavier Henry reaches for a steal against Central Arkansas guard Imad Qahwash during the second half, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

January 22, 2010

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Best known for his offense, Xavier Henry was dandy on defense in Kansas University’s 81-75 basketball victory over Baylor on Wednesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

The 6-foot-6 Henry, who plucked seven steals, tied Tony Guy (1979 vs. Kansas State) and Darnell Valentine (1977 vs. Fordham) for most thefts by a Jayhawk freshman in a single game.

The seven steals, which tied for the third best mark in KU history, were the most since Mario Chalmers’ seven-steal effort versus DePaul on Dec. 8, 2007.

Aaron Miles had a school-record nine steals against Iowa State on Feb. 16, 2003.

“The ball was coming to me. When it gets by me, I just swipe at it, and I come up with it,” Henry said.

His previous high was four steals three times — against Tennessee Tech, Alcorn State and Cornell.

“I could tell during the game I was getting a lot of steals. I didn’t know I had seven, but I knew I was stealing the ball a lot,” Henry said.

KU finished with 15 steals and forced 20 turnovers — which proved important on a night Baylor hit 52.1 percent of its shots, including 10 of 21 threes.

“It was another game that had a lot of possessions, a lot of turnovers and a lot of runs,” Henry said. “It was a fun game to play in.”

Henry, who is KU’s second leading scorer at 14.9 points a game, missed 10 of 13 shots — including five of seven threes — en route to 12 points.

Obviously, KU’s team leader in steals (34) didn’t let his offensive struggles affect his ‘D.’

“Defense is fun,” Henry said. “Before I got here, I wasn’t a big defensive guy, but when coach (Bill Self) taught us the principles and stuff like that, I got real big on defense.”

Junior center Cole Aldrich said Henry’s defensive work has reminded him of a certain Jayhawk player now in the NBA.

“Two years ago we had Mario, (Chalmers, Miami Heat) who seemed like he’d steal the ball eight times every game,” Aldrich said, “and that’s one thing we were kind of missing over the past few games, getting out in the passing lanes and gapping and getting steals. And I think if we continue to do that, it’s going to be tougher for offenses to score.”

Henry has come a long way since his high school days, when he averaged 28.3 points a game while focusing almost completely on scoring.

“He’s got a great body, but he’s got great hands,” Aldrich said. “He’s starting to figure out where defenders are going to be and that really helps.”

The star of Wednesday’s game — Sherron Collins —had two steals to go with his 28 points.

“He takes over for us when we need him and he puts us on his back,” Henry said. “He’s always amazing. That’s how he comes to play every game. That’s why we love him.”

Henry said he was proud of Collins and Aldrich handling a pair of deaths in their immediate families. Collins was to attend the funeral of his great grandfather, Robert, on Thursday in Chicago. Aldrich will not be attending services for his grandmother, Ann, today in Northfield, Minn. He’ll practice with the team at noon and ride the charter bus to Ames.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s affected them a lot. I haven’t heard too much from them, but we are all praying for them,” Henry said.

Rumors

KU coach Self said he would have no comment on rumors that soph guard Tyshawn Taylor implied on a Facebook entry that he might transfer. Taylor’s Facebook was taken down after the rumors started. Taylor, who was replaced by Brady Morningstar in the starting lineup Wednesday, had no points, five assists and no turnovers versus Baylor. He was at practice as usual on Thursday.

Next

KU will next meet Iowa State at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. KU is 17-1, 3-0; ISU 12-6, 1-2.

Comments

Janet Olin 4 years, 9 months ago

Memo to Tyshawn: true KU fans want and respect players who work to learn Coach's game (Defense) and who can spell TEAM. Talented players arrive every year; those who succeed check their egos at the locker room door and work to make themselves and the others better players.

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Jim Williamson 4 years, 9 months ago

Someone please get Tyshawn a bottle and his binky.

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Steve Miller 4 years, 9 months ago

If they don't learn how to play against the zone, they'll all need binkys before it's all over with ...

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rgh 4 years, 9 months ago

Baylor is a really darn good team. They out-rebounded us and out-shot us and still lost. Give KU some props for beating a good shooting and very tall team.

Tyshawn is a thorn. Brady or Tyrell are both capable of handling the ball with Elijah getting more minutes to improve his college skills. Tyshawn got in a fight; publicly said he didn't know his role; and now supposedly says he wants to go elsewhere. Let's cut our loss now and be better come March if he doesn't want to be a part of a National Championship. Bill Self is giving him the greatest opportunity of his entire life and he's giving it right back. Take it from him Bill, he doesn't seem to want it while others do. We are way too deep on the bench to put up with his nonsense.

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SteelHorseRider 4 years, 9 months ago

What a bunch of BS rumors. There is nothing wrong with Tyshawn and he isn't going to transfer.

5 assists and ZERO turnovers is a good game. Maybe Brady was a better match-up defensively. Doesn't mean Tyshawn is not working hard or has an ego problem.

The problem is Taylor had a string of 7 games with only 6 total turnovers and 34 total assists followed by the last three games where he had 9 turnovers and only 6 assists. The "slump" is why he came off the bench.

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