Oh Henry! Kansas Finds Secret Ingredient, Xavier to Play for Jayhawks

Neil PowellCorrespondent IApril 23, 2009

There's a trend in college basketball, a recipe if you would, for winning a national title.

Going back through the last 10 years of national championship rosters, there is one ingredient that all of these teams possess.

Coach Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks may have just found theirs for the 2009-10 season.

Highly sought-after prep prospect Xavier Henry will announce tomorrow at Putnam High School in Oklahoma City, Okla. that he will attend and play basketball for the University of Kansas.

The 6'6" Henry is considered by many publications one of the top three high school players in the nation. 

Henry, who averaged 28.3 points and 6.7 rebounds last season for 6A state champion Putnam, had been committed to the University of Memphis to play for coach John Calipari.

When Calipari took the job at the University of Kentucky, Henry backed out of his letter of intent to play for the Tigers.

Xavier's brother C.J., a walk-on point guard for Memphis last season, will be joining "X" next season at Kansas as well.

In 2005 C.J. was drafted out of high school by the New York Yankees at No. 17 overall in the amateur draft and is a walk-on because the Yankees pay his college tuition.

At the recent Jordan Brand and McDonald's All-American games, Xavier displayed a beautiful shooting touch and the ability to face up, get it to the rim, and finish.

His blend of size, strength, outside touch, and athletic ability should put Kansas over the top considering the Jayhawks already have a loaded roster, led by returning stars Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich.

Looking back at the last 10 national champions, all of them had athletic, do-it-all type players at the small forward position that could shoot, score at the basket, and defend.

Here's the list of athletic "wing" players:

'09 Danny Green (6'6") UNC

'08 Brandon Rush (6'6") Kansas

'07/'06 Corey Brewer (6'9") Florida

'05 Rashad McCants (6'4") UNC

'04 Rudy Gay (6'9") UConn

'03 Carmelo Anthony (6'8") Syracuse

'02 Byron Mouton (6'6") Maryland

'01 Mike Dunleavy Jr. (6'9") Duke

'00 Morris Peterson (6'7") Mich St.

'99 Kevin Freeman (6'6") UConn

Only Maryland's Mouton and Connecticut's Freeman (although they did have 6'6" Rip Hamilton) did not go on to have productive NBA careers, but both played professional ball.

Kansas had a stacked team in 2008 with five NBA draft picks (and Russell Robinson plays in the NBDL), but Rush was the difference maker for the Jayhawks. 

Landing Henry, along with two other five-star recruits, Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson, will only bolster a roster that returns every contributing player from last year's Big 12 championship squad.

Kansas also has been in pursuit of John Wall and Lance Stephenson, the two best remaining uncommitted players in the nation.

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