Since Xavier and CJ Henry announced that they were going to play basketball at the University of Kansas on April 23rd, there have been numerous rumors, innuendo, much of which seems to be based on misunderstandings. Carl Henry spoke to TheShiver.com today to clear the air about all of the above, including the article that ran in Sundays edition of the Kansas City Star.
After John Calipari decided to leave his position as the Memphis Tigers’ head coach for Kentucky’s position of the same title, it left a lot of recruits and their families futures in the balance. The future of Putnam City High School (OK) senior standout, Xavier Henry, was not spared. Adding to that confusion was the fact that Xavier’s brother, CJ Henry, was already a member of the Memphis basketball program and the Henry family had all but finalized plans to join the boys in Memphis for the 2009-2010 season. With Calipari departing for Kentucky, those plans quickly changed.
After much thought about what they would do, the Henry’s ultimately surmised that The University of Kansas would make a great place to call two vibrant and future prodigious basketball careers home. Again, the Henry’s found themselves making plans to all be together in Lawrence for at least the 2009-2010 season. Since deciding to head to Lawrence, there has been no cease in rumors and misunderstandings regarding the Henry brothers, and after the Kansas City Star article on Sunday, their father Carl has found himself trying to clear up a lot of those items.
“All of that is false,” Carl Henry said about the article in the Kansas City Star. “I had a friend of mine in Kansas City read me a lot of what was printed and it’s false,” Henry added.
The article didn’t only bother Carl, but it also bothered his sons, Xavier and CJ. Their frustration about what they deem to be misquotes and untruths has really started to really get to both Henry brothers.
“It’s almost like they don’t want us up there, and right now, my kids don’t want to go because of that article,” Henry said.
In the article, it describes an incident during the interview where Carl Henry’s cell phone starts ringing and he looks at the phone and hits the ‘ignore’ button to send the call to voice mail. According to Henry, there was more to that incident than appeared in the article.
“I’m in the middle of an interview and the guy (McCullough) has his recorder out and is asking me a bunch of questions,” Henry said. “My phone rang a few times during the interview and I even said that it was Coach Self and that I needed to call him back. I did call him back just after that and he was on a golf course and couldn’t really talk at that time. I called him back while Brady was there,” added Henry.
“I have known Coach Self for a very long time. I played against him in high school, and have known him for a long time. We’re friends, Henry said of Self. “I have also known Danny Manning for a long time too,” added Henry.
In another part of the article that upset Henry, was that he felt it was implied that he said his oldest son CJ was better than Sherron Collins and Tyshawn Taylor. According to Henry, he does feel that both of his boys can play at Kansas, and play a lot, but that they will have to work just as hard as anyone else on the roster.
“Look, I’ve seen Collins and I’ve seen Taylor. I’m their father, I’ve coached them, and I played the game. To me, in my opinion, CJ is just as good or better than Collins. I also said that it doesn’t mean anything though. They will still have to earn a spot. Sherron ain’t just going to give up his spot, CJ will have to earn it,” said Henry. “I told Self to not give my boys nothing and that they will have to work for it. Nobody gives kids stuff, they have to go and beat them out,” Henry added.
Another topic that has been widely discussed is the possibility that Xavier looked into playing in Europe. That is true, but in the end, the opportunity to get more exposure in America was one of many reasons why attending Kansas turned out to be a better option.
“A team offered my son (Xavier) one million dollars to play for them,” Carl said. I persuaded Xavier to go to school though. I talked to him about school, and he talked to Brandon Jennings about it, but after I talked to him about it he chose KU,” added Henry.
One rumor that spun out of control was when Carl traveled to Los Angeles a few weeks ago. The rumor was that Carl was traveling to L.A. to visit UCLA on behalf of the Henry brothers. According to Henry, he was in L.A., but not to see UCLA.
“I was there meeting with folks from a few different teams in Europe,” Henry said. “Coach Self knew all of this was going on at the time too. CJ would have still gone to KU though. I just wanted to get the details of all of it, but after seeing it all, playing at KU was better. His mother and I could see him play, so could people around the country, and the marketing here is just better for him. If those guys (European reps) were in New York, I would have gone to New York. People just say whatever they want to say,” Henry added.
The decision to go to Kansas after Calipari left for Lexington wasn’t an easy one. One reason the boys chose Memphis the first time, besides Xavier’s desire to play with his brother, was that they enjoyed the style of play that Coach Calipari ran at Memphis. That made attending Kentucky a very attractive choice for the Henry brothers. According to Carl, he was talking to his sons about Kansas throughout the entire saga.
“I tell you the truth about it. His mother (Barbara Henry) said she wasn’t moving to Kentucky,” Henry said. ”Xavier then decided to keep the family together and head to Kansas, where I was telling him to go. I played at Kansas, I know Kansas, and that is where I wanted them to go,” Henry added.