Kansas' Xavier Henry Declares for the NBA Draft

April 7, 2010

Watch Press Conference

LAWRENCE, Kan. – University of Kansas guard Xavier Henry declared for the NBA Draft Wednesday afternoon. He met with media at a press conference to announce his decision.

Henry played one season at Kansas in which the Jayhawks went 33-3, won the Big 12 regular-season title with a 15-1 record, won the Big 12 championship and was ranked No. 1 for 15 weeks during 2009-10. The Oklahoma City native averaged 13.4 ppg for the season, and was KU’s second-leading scorer. Henry was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times during the 2009-10 season (Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Feb. 22) and led KU in scoring in 11 games. An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection and freshman All-America by many outlets, Henry led Kansas with 54 steals and had a KU freshman-record-tying seven steals against Baylor (Jan. 20). Henry, who was also named to the 2010 Big 12 All-Rookie team, was second on the team with 69 three-point field goals made and made multiple three-pointers in 21 contests. He finished fifth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 41.8 percent. He ranked 18th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.4 ppg, eighth in steals at 1.5 and 13th in three-pointers made at 1.9.

A member of the Athletic Director’s and Big 12 Commissioner’s honor rolls in Fall 2009, Henry had four games of 20-plus points this season, including a career-high 31 points against LaSalle at the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout at the Sprint Center on Dec. 12.

Henry joins teammate Cole Aldrich in declaring for the NBA Draft before his eligibility had expired. Aldrich declared on March 29.

Xavier Henry Career Honors:

2009-10: Collegeinsider.com Freshman All-America team… FoxSports.com All-Freshman Team… USBWA District VI… All-Big 12 Honorable Mention… Big 12 All-Rookie Team… Big 12 All-Freshman Team (media)… Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Feb. 22)… Athletics Director’s and Big 12 Commissioner’s honor rolls (fall 2009)… Wooden Award Midseason Candidate (top 30)… Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Dec. 14)… Phillip 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Dec. 7)… Preseason Wooden Award Watch List.

Xavier Henry

Opening Statement:

“Well first of all, I’d like to thank everybody for coming to watch me announce my decision. First, I’d like to give thanks to God because I’m real fortunate and blessed to be put in this position. A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to do anything like this. I’m really fortunate and blessed. I’d like to thank Coach Self and the rest of the coaching staff for helping me this whole year for getting me prepared and ready to succeed. I’d like to thank my teammates also for just being themselves. They kept me grounded this year and we had a lot of fun this year and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’d like to thank my brother, my family, my mother and my father and my whole support system at home. It’s unbelievable what they’ve done for me. Helping me get to college and being the best person that I can be, on the court and off. I’d like to thank my coaches and their families and well. They allowed us to be ourselves and were so nice and generous towards all us players. I’d also like to thank all my academic advisors and tutors for helping me stay focused in class and keeping me on top of everything in class while I was doing everything on the court. It helped a lot to know that I had them behind me, staying on top of me and pushing me to help me do better in school all the time. They’re going to help me get my degree after I leave school. I’d like to thank all the fans for all their support for coming to our games and cheering us on. That’s what makes playing in that building so special to me. I absolutely loved going to school this year. But I’m here to announce than I am putting my name into the 2010 NBA Draft. I am planning on hiring an agent, but right now we are in the interviewing process.”

On his emotions:

“It’s tough. I didn’t know I would love it here this much. All the people here made it a place for me to love. Just the relationships that you can build in one year and playing in this building, there’s nothing like it. They gave me every opportunity and I loved playing here. I love what the coaches did for me and what my teammates did. The fans and everybody else who supported KU made it really worthwhile for me.”

On why he is deciding to go to the NBA:

“I think coach prepared me as well as he can. He kept me confident throughout the whole season even though I went through slumps. He got my mindset ready to play with anybody and I think he did a great job doing that. I’m confident going in and I want to go in there and kill it.”

On when he made his decision:

“Just recently. It’s been on my mind, having to go through things and having to interview agents. Just recently I thought that if I’m going to go for it, I’ve got to go for it full head of steam. I can’t hold back.”

On where he’s hearing where he’ll go in the draft:

“I’ve heard anywhere from 8-20 or 8-16. It’s all about putting in the work and as long as I work hard, I’m going to get what I deserve and that’s what I believe. As long as I work my hardest, God-willing, that’s where I’ll go.”

Head Coach Bill Self

Opening Statement:

“Today we come before you again with good news. I really believe that when a young man chooses to come to a school like the University of Kansas to play basketball, their hopes are that when they leave, they’re prepared to be the best husband, father and provider that they can be. We’ve got a young man who has a unique opportunity in front of him in Xavier. He’s come to a decision and he wants to share it.”

On where he thinks Xavier will get drafted:

“I think from what we’ve heard, he’s proven that he’s put himself in a position to go high. But there are also other guys out there who can certainly move up the board and certainly move down. I do believe that the next month or six weeks will be pivotal in where he goes because there is a wide range and a lot of guys are declaring and workouts will be very important moving forward.”

On the one-year rule:

“I think it’s definitely worth it to have a guy in your program for one year if he’s got the character of Xavier. Regardless of what the perception was when he got to school here, he was going to come to school here to be at Kansas and make the most of his college experience and whenever the time was right, the time would be right. That was the understanding and this is not a sad day for us because we anticipated this would probably happen so we prepared for this. But I think (the one-year rule) is a bad rule. I think it’s a bad rule because I think if a young man is talented enough to go, he should be able to go out of high school. But I don’t think the one-year rule is a bad rule in his case because he’s a 3.6 student who is going to pass 36 hours this year. Technically the one-year rule would allow a young man to only pass six hours the whole year. So it could make a mockery out of the education system, that’s why I think it’s a bad rule. I think the best formula for success with the program is to have guys that are program guys. You can be an NBA guy and be a program guy. You want to recruit the best players and you also have to be happy with your guys if the feedback is that they’ve performed in such a way where the time (to go to the NBA) is right. We wish the decision was different, but if the decision is best for he and his family then it is right. So I don’t think it’s a good rule. I think it’s a bad rule, but not in his case. It’s a bad rule because you could make a mockery out of it if you chose to.”

On how Xavier should be remembered:

“I would say he should be remembered just like anybody else who has ever put on a uniform. He is a Jayhawk and he came to Kansas for the right reasons. Of course it took him a while to get here, but he came here for the right reasons. He’s going down as the second-leading scorer in the history of this school as a freshman. We’ve had some pretty good guys come through here and not come remotely close to touching what he’s done from a scoring standpoint. I think he’s 10 points or 13 points behind Danny (Manning) as the all-time freshman leading scorer. I think the positive I will take out of it is, we’ve seen him mature before our eyes. If you start out really strong, expectations rise. Then your performance dips in terms of expectations and then there are some struggles. Then we see a guy mature and fight his way out of it. I think that fans can always appreciate a guy who they know is trying so hard. I can’t imagine there’d be one negative thought with X, other than they feel like they’ve been cheated because they would love to see more. That would be from a strictly selfish standpoint as a fan.”

On the departure of Xavier, Cole and Sherron:

“I really think that when we lost Wayne (Simien), Keith (Langford), J.R. (Giddens), Michael (Lee) and the rest of that group, we lost basically 4.5-5 starters. Then that team wins the league next year with all young kids. Then we lose (Darrell Arthur), Brandon (Rush), Mario (Chalmers), Sasha (Kaun), and Darnell (Jackson) and you wonder how you can replace that. Then the next year the team goes 14-2 and wins the league. So I don’t think our expectations will change one bit because of the absence of three very good players. I really think that we’ve recruited well enough and will continue to recruit well enough, that even though it may take a little bit longer to where we want to be, I do think this team will have a great opportunity to get there. It was disappointing to all of us how the season ended this year. To have such a good year and then not perform well when it counted the most, that’s so disappointing. But I also think that will be motivation for these young kids who haven’t really experienced that type of defeat in their careers yet. Hopefully that will make them hungrier and know the sacrifices that they have to make. I’m not going to lose sleep over losing these three guys. I’m going to go to bed happy for them because I really believe that we’ve got guys in our program, when their time comes, they’ll be ready to step in and do the job.”