The Memphis Tigers have added a guard from the Class of 2005. You read that right: Class of 2005. C.J. Henry, a former proposed Kansas walk-on and 17th overall pick in the 2005 Major League Draft will walk-on at Memphis this fall. The New York Yankees are contractually obligated to pay for Henry’s college education.
C.J. Henry is the brother of Scout.com’s 4th rated recruit, Xavier Henry. This story came to light in a newspaper report Tuesday afternoon. There’s no doubt that C.J. Henry’s arrival at Memphis creates a lot of questions for fans. Does this mean Xavier will follow? Is C.J. an eliminator for Memphis? Will he want to play with his brother?
One has to believe that both the Jayhawks and Tigers have asked those questions before getting knee deep in it with C.J. Henry, who recently decided baseball wasn’t for him. The answer to one query is simple: you don’t take C.J. Henry if it lessens your chances of nabbing Xavier. That’s Recruiting 101, folks.
Kansas and Memphis have tangled for prospects before, most recently with the Morris twins. Memphis held pledges from the twins; Kansas has them on campus. Both programs continue to remain alive in the recruitment of John Wall.
And of course we can’t forget a certain Monday in April when the Jayhawks rode a Mario Chalmers 3-pointer to an overtime victory over the Tigers in the national championship game.
In this particular case, the nuts and bolts of the recruitments of both Henrys are juicy. C.J. was set to walk-on three years ago before going the baseball route. Calipari coached father Carl Henry at Kansas. Each program has been dogged in their pursuit of Xavier as they stalked the rising senior on the summer circuit. Self and Calipari have coaching roots in Lawrence. Both are disciples of Larry Brown and each is extremely competitive. Recruiting-wise, this won’t be the final time the teams square off (see Derrick Rose circa 2007).
Know this: the Tigers and Jayhawks are going to continue whacking away at each other while they chase Xavier. Kansas can tug at Xavier’s heartstrings with their father’s ties to the community and the program. Memphis has his younger brother in the fold.
There have been times in the past where neither program survived the battle and a compromise choice was needed. Will that be the case here? The reality is C.J. hasn’t played competitive basketball in three years. What happens if he’s not able to help the Tigers and doesn’t earn much playing time? One would think the longer this goes, the better that may be for Kansas. The other side of the coin is what if C.J. does play a lot for Memphis and he is able to play a part in their rotation? Edge: Tigers.
Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for round three. Fast-rising power forward Thomas Robinson is going to Kansas Sept. 20. Memphis is one of his five finalists.
Xavier Henry will be in Lawrence Sept. 20 for the national champion’s ring ceremony. A week later, you guessed it: he’ll be walking in Memphis.