Friday, August 20, 2010
Will C.J. Henry have a hoops career?
By Eamonn Brennan
I have to admit: I find the prospective college hoops career of C.J. Henry to be thoroughly fascinating.
Most of that has to do with Henry's age. Thanks to a brief stint with the New York Yankees and an even briefer stay at Memphis, Henry was a redshirt freshman at Kansas last season (where his younger brother, Xavier, started and starred), but he was a 23-year-old redshirt freshman. Henry would have been old if he were a senior. Basically, he's the Chris Weinke of college basketball.
C.J. Henry averaged 3.1 points and 5.6 minutes per game during the 2009/10 season.
There is a main difference though: In his mid-20s, Weinke dominated. As Henry approaches that mark, he's yet to do anything of the sort.
Henry (along with fellow Kansas walk-on Chase Buford) is leaving the Jayhawks this summer. He plans to pursue his career elsewhere. It's hard to gauge interest in Henry's services, but he was a touted high school point guard in 2005 before he was drafted by the Yankees in the first round of the MLB draft.
After injuries derailed Henry's baseball career, the guard decided to pursue basketball, and he did so with something of a golden ticket in his pocket. A clause in Henry's Yankees contract mandates that the Yankees must pay for his college education. That means Henry can classify as a walk-on and play college hoops without costing his team one of its ever-valuable scholarships. He did so at Memphis, where he redshirted in 2008-09, and he did so again after his transfer to Kansas, where he battled through injuries in 13 appearances in 2009-10.
This creates an intriguing and unique recruiting calculus. Henry is almost in the adult prime of his career. He doesn't cost a scholarship. He has talent. Whatever the other concerns about his ability -- injuries, I suppose -- you'd think schools would jump at the chance to use one of its walk-on spots on a potential starter. After all, what's the risk?
In the meantime, it's worth keeping an eye on Henry, if only to be prepared for the guard's potential emergence as one of college hoops' oldest, most well-traveled veterans. Old college players are never not fun. Ken Mink knows what I'm talking about.