Archive for Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lakers give Xavier Henry a shot

New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Xavier Henry (4) dunks the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in New Orleans, Friday, March 2, 2012. The Hornets won 97-92.

New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Xavier Henry (4) dunks the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in New Orleans, Friday, March 2, 2012. The Hornets won 97-92.

September 15, 2013


Former Kansas University basketball guard Xavier Henry, whose rookie contract expired at the end of the 2012-13 season, will try to resurrect his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers at the still-young age of 22.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder from Oklahoma City averaged 3.9 and 5.3 points a game the past two seasons with New Orleans after averaging 4.3 points a game his rookie season with Memphis. He recently signed a contract with the Lakers that various websites have said is contingent on his making the squad in training camp. However, indicates he has been guaranteed a one-year salary of $916,099. He made $1.7 million, $1,809,700 and $1,936,000 his first three years in the league.

“During the free-agent process, I was working hard and when I started to get feedback from teams, we thought (the Lakers) was a good fit for me,” Henry told “When the deal got done, I was excited. There’s not one thing you can say wrong about the Lakers — their history, the players, the coach. They have one of the greats in Kobe (Bryant) that you can learn from every single day.”

Henry, who was chosen No. 12 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft following his one-and-done season at KU, explained his slow adjustment to pro ball in Memphis in 2010-11.

“What really hurt me was I hurt my knee and basically missed the rest of the season. (Coach Lionel Hollins) played me, but I wasn’t even healthy, and it was hard for me to deal with that going through the rest of the year. It was like I had to start all over,” said Henry, who played in 38 games his injury-plagued rookie season.

“It was going good at first right after I got drafted. I had O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen (ahead of him). They started with Mayo, and we weren’t winning much. They started Allen, and we still weren’t winning much, so they put me in. I was playing fine as a rookie to get my feet wet. A couple games in, my knee (acted up), and that was it.

“It wasn’t a happy time for me because I was hurt and I had an opportunity in front of me. I tried to play a couple games after I got hurt and I could barely even move, and I knew I had to shut it down. Everybody was good to me. I was always battling back. I was just trying to get back healthy. If I’m healthy, I know I can play. There’s no denying that,” Henry added to

In Henry’s year at KU (2009-10), the Jayhawks went 33-3 overall and won both the Big 12 regular-season (15-1) and postseason titles. KU fell to Northern Iowa in the second round of the NCAAs.

“It was unbelievable playing with the guys we had and under coach (Bill) Self. It was probably one of the most fun years of my life,” Henry said. “For the whole year, I got better and I tried to prove a point that this is my game. It’s funny to look back that I’m not old, but only four years out of college.”

Henry tweeting: Henry, perhaps signaling his new start in a major media market, has signed up for Twitter. His handle is @xhenry7. He calls himself “shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers #Jayhawks.”

“Hey everybody thank you and I appreciate the support! It’ll be a great season! And I’m glad to be spending in it LA!! #LakerNation,” Henry wrote.

Rush needed in Chicago:’s Bradford Doolittle thinks the Chicago Bulls should try to trade for former KU guard Brandon Rush, about to start his first season with the rebuilding Utah Jazz.

“During Rush’s last two healthy seasons, he’s ranked in the top third of individual defenders by Synergy’s points per possession allowed,” Doolittle wrote. “On offense, he’s a career 41 percent shooter from deep, giving a healthy Rush a much-coveted skill set that you can plug into most any team. He’s seemed athletically capable of more on offense, but after four full seasons then an injured-wrecked campaign (at Golden State last year), we have to place him in the “is what he is” category.

“‘What he is’ would be useful to Chicago. The Bulls don’t have a pure shooting guard on the depth chart and are projected to rank 22nd in three-point accuracy. Most importantly, Rush plays enough defense to convince coach Tom Thibodeau to actually put him on the floor,” Doolittle added.

Decommits: Louisville has had two top preps decommit in the past several days. First, No. 31-rated Quentin Snider, 6-1 from Louisville’s Ballard High, decommitted on July 31 and has since committed to Illinois. On Friday, No. 22-rated JaQuan Lyle, 6-5 from Huntington (W.Va) Prep, originally from Evansville, Ind., decomitted from Rick Pitino’s Cardinal program.

Some recruiting analysts believe it is possible prospects Cliff Alexander of Chicago and Lyle will consider attending KU as a package deal.

College recruiters, by the way, cannot evaluate players at practices at Lyle’s Huntington Prep, Yahoo!Sports has reported. The NCAA has declared Huntington Prep and Findlay Prep in Nevada off limits at this time because they have been classified as “non scholastic.”

Yahoo said college coaches have been told by the NCAA ... “A team that is affiliated with a scholastic institution, but not subject to the rules and regulations of a scholastic governing body would be considered a nonscholastic team for purposes of applying the evaluation legislation set forth in Bylaw … At this time, the AMA staff has been presented fact situations involving two teams, Findlay Prep and Huntington Prep, and has determined that based on the facts presented and the above mentioned legislation and interpretation, both of those teams would be considered nonscholastic teams …”

KU freshman Andrew Wiggins attended Huntington Prep. No. 7-ranked Rashad Vaughn and No. 12 Kelly Oubre, who both are considering KU, attend Findlay Prep.

One coach told Yahoo he thought this would be cleared up within a few weeks and coaches would be allowed back at practices at these institutions.

Blackmon update: KU is one of many schools on the list for James Blackmon Jr., a 6-3 senior combo guard from Marion (Ind.) High who is ranked No. 23 in the Class of 2014 by Blackmon, who recently decommitted from Indiana, still has IU on his list, plus KU, Kentucky, Michigan, Louisville, North Carolina, Michigan State and Florida State. KU figures to be a long shot considering Blackmon has made unofficial visits to Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky.


Robert Rauktis 4 years, 8 months ago

"College recruiters, by the way, cannot evaluate players at practices at Lyle’s Huntington Prep, Yahoo!Sports has reported. The NCAA has declared Huntington Prep and Findlay Prep in Nevada off limits at this time because they have been classified as “non scholastic.”

Since when has college ball or one-and-done-ism been about scholastics? It's a surprise these coaches and "student-athletes" aren't tripping over their noses.

rtwngr 4 years, 8 months ago

Xavier Henry is a young man that didn't need the money and jumped too soon to the NBA. He should have stayed in college, worked on his game, got stronger, and got a degree because you can hurt your knees to the point they can't play ball anymore. Then he should have gone pro. He read too many of his own press clippings.

onewillow 4 years, 8 months ago

Xavier is just another example of a one and done who will fail in the NBA. He was good in college but he wasnt outstanding. Another year or two and he would have been much better prepared to handle the pro game. What a waste. He'll be out of the league in 2 years. Or at least playing overseas.

bwag 4 years, 8 months ago

The guy has made about $6 million in 4 years. Assuming he's had any sense at all you cannot call that a bust. If only my post college years had been such a bust.

onewillow 4 years, 8 months ago

If he was half as good as advertised $6 million is nothing. If he stays for a year or two more he becomes a top 3 choice and doubles that earnings. He wasnt good enough to play at a sustainable level in the pros. Compare his earnings to Rush's earnings. Brandon I would bet will double or triple his earnings if his knee stays healthy at the end their careers.

OlDan 4 years, 8 months ago

At one level I have to agree with bwag. X was projected to go high in NBA draft after his freshman season. It was a no brainer from the financial stand point. On another level, even one more year of "seasoning" and conditioning may have better prepared him for the next level, but why risk a career ending injury for one more year? He made the right decision.

onewillow 4 years, 8 months ago

We wont know for another few years whether he did or didnt make the right decision. All you need to consider is the name Julian Wright. Would anyone argue he made the right call? He played 4 years, averaged 3.9 points per game and is now out of the game. Oddly enough, Xavier and Julian have exactly the same point production and have both played for 2 teams in their first 3 years. Xavier was really good in college, he wasnt great. He wont be great in the NBA, but he could have been.

Mike Ford 4 years, 8 months ago

I watched Xavier play against the Thunder a year ago in OKC. He and Daniel Orton are both from OKC High Schools. In spite of all the hating by the couch coaches can one imagine the thrill of playing for an NBA team in your home town? If these players weren't used as trade commodities for salary cap reasons they'd develop longer with the same teams. Marcus Morris, Cole Aldrich, and Thomas Robinson were all used as trade commodities in the last year. From a wider perspective the last NBA Labor agreement created this situation where the owners acting like Mitt Romney don't want to deal with guaranteed rookie contracts which were created during the previous labor stoppage of the late 1990's so they just ship the players around like salary credits and don't worry about developing the players. If one goes back to when high schoolers went to the NBA one can remember Jermaine O' Neal who sat behind Rasheed Wallace and Arvidis Sabonis until his time came and then he was quite the player with the Pacers. Kobe didn't blow up immediately either. Besides is going overseas really that bad? they pay better over there than any borderline end of the bench job in the NBA and young men have their minds opened to other cultures and gather worldly knowledge. Sasha Kaun is a millionaire many times over from playing for CKSA Moscow with players like Andrei Kerilenko and Nenad Kristic. Keith Langford played with CKSA and Maccabi Tel Aviv and Russell Robinson has done good for himself as has Jacob Pullen in the Georgian Republic. If you're mad about Xavier start looking at the 2014 NBA Mock Draft. KU has four players in the first round. Even Perry Ellis which was a shock to me. KU is about to be like Kentucky.

bwag 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad some of you can throw away $6m for a shot at $12-$20m....guess even now you've got bids in to buy the LJW. Because another scenario is he gets hurt and is so-so the next year in college and eventually ends up another upper classman that had some skills and potential. Take the NBA $6, put it in the bank and then like some have pointed out, go play overseas and make some more. Bank it when you can.

onewillow 4 years, 8 months ago

Its always easier to take the easy way out. Yes, its always possible to get hurt. Nowadays the NCAA allows players to insure against economic loss due to injury. But, stay and become a great player. Make multiples of the money if one leaves early. The NBA does not develop good players into great players. It takes great players, with the drive to become better and makes them All Stars. But in today's society players take the money. You know as a matter of fact, I would have taken the money if I was McClemore. His personal situation was atrocious. His family needed his help. Xavier's family was not distitute, they could have waited a year or two.

Mike Ford 4 years, 8 months ago

Julian Wright is not out of the game. He is on the Krasne Krilya Samara Russian Pro League Team with Aaron Miles of all people. They play CKSA Moscow which has Sasha Kaun. The salaries in Russia are higher than other Eurobasket League countries but a little bit lower than the NBA league minimum of $473,000 which is what both Tyshawn Taylor and Jeff Withey will make this season.

John Graham 4 years, 8 months ago

The problem is the vast majority of NBA players are broke within 5 years of finishing their career no matter how much they made. See Allen Iverson and Antoine Walker both of who made over $100 million in their career yet are now broke. Hopefully X has more smarts than that but based on the average outcome of NBA players I wouldn't bet on it.

Mike Ford 4 years, 8 months ago

Allen Iverson lived beyond his means and Antoine Walker was an out of control gambler. Many players invested in real estate and lost like crazy (See Rick Mahorn and Dr. J) but one looks at someone like Brandon Jennings who purchased a Ford Edge with his rookie contract money and not all players are dumb. The rookie contract scale for first rounders goes from near $4 million for #1 down to $827,000 for pick #30 over the first two years with an option between years two and three. One figures a 33% tax rate with agent costs and such and a sizable chunk of money goes away. The NBA is at least better about the money than the NFL.

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