Wednesday, April 22, 2009

X marks the Kansas

It appears the soap-operatic saga of Xavier Henry may be drawing to a close. For those who aren't hoops fans, Xavier (pronounced Za-Vee-ay) is the talented son of former Kansas star, Carl Henry. X is a consensus top five high schooler who originally committed to Memphis, and then coach John Calipari, after a long flirtation with both the Tigers and the Jayhawks of Kansas. When Cal split for Lexington and the big bucks at the University of Kentucky, X re-opened his recruitment which led to 2.5 weeks of speculation, fueled by a father who seemed to constantly provide the media with differing stories about X's intentions, as well as the intentions of his brother, C.J.

Don't get it yet? Well, it gets even better so hang on for the story. Xavier's brother, C.J., was a walk-on who was on Memphis' basketball team this past season. Unfortunately, C.J. did not play due to a medical hardship. He was a good high school basketball player in his own right but an even better baseball player and was drafted by the New York Yankees. One of the stipulations of his contract with the Yankees was that they would pay for his college education. Thus, C.J. ended up at Memphis, playing for Calipari, as a walk-on with an education provided by a professional sports team.

When Xavier committed to Memphis, one of the key reasons was to be close to his brother and to play with him on the same team. Once Calipari left and X began looking again, it quickly became public that C.J. would likely follow him to wherever he landed.

In the meantime, other un-committed players were watching closely. Lance Stephenson, considered at one time a lock for Kansas, held off on his announcement until he understood where Henry figured to land. The consensus top high schooler in the country, John Wall, also has waited to see where the other moving parts in this saga would end up--he at various times has had Kansas, Memphis, Kentucky, Duke, Baylor and others on his list of preferred schools.

So, after weeks of internet reports and contradictions, after an ill-advised report by a local sports talk station that Stephenson was considering Missouri and/or Kansas State in order to "get back at Kansas" for re-considering Henry, and after the wackiest spring recruiting period ever, the story is drawing to a close. Henry has scheduled a press conference for tomorrow morning and multiple sources claim he will end up at Kansas. That means Stephenson will likely choose between St. John's and Maryland and Wall will be free to go to any of a half-dozen schools who are still in hot pursuit of his talents.

Did you get all that...?

--By the way, here's Xavier on Twitter:

1 comment: