2010 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Xavier Henry

Editor's Note, by rook6980:
This is the 13th installment in a series of regular postings on draft prospects.  This series will take a look at the top draft prospects for the 2010 NBA Draft in June. The plan is to have one or two a week, leading up to a flurry of activity the week of the draft. My DVR is crammed full of College games, and I'm watching and writing as fast as I can (between Wizards games). You can see my previous prospect profiles by clicking here

We're getting into the range of players who will most likely not be in the Wizard's draft window. I will continue to profile as many players as possible, even players that have little chance of going in the top eight (Wizard's first pick) or in the bottom of the first round (Wizards second first round pick), because we never know what may happen. There are a lot of talented players in this draft, and you never know who may slip to #30, or even into the second round. And like last year, the Wizards might make a move with their first pick. Who knows?

Anyway, the point is that we should know who these players are, because however slight the chance, they still may end up putting on a Wizards cap come draft night. Most people say that the 2008 draft (with Rose, Beasley, Love, Mayo, Westbrook, the Lopez Brothers, Hickson, Mario Chalmers, Gallinari, etc.) was the best draft in years, but this draft may have more overall talent, top to bottom. There will be VERY GOOD players selected in the late first round, and into the early second round. Starting-quality players.

Xavier Henry 

19 years old
6'6"; 220 lbs.
Kansas, Freshman

Xavier Henry has a good pedigree. His father played for the Kansas Jayhawks in the 1980s. He went on to play professionally in Belgium. His mother played basketball for the Kansas women's team. His Uncle, Joe Adkins, played basketball at Oklahoma State. Xavier's brother, C. J., is a freshman on the University of Kansas basketball team. C.J. was a 2005 MLB draft first round pick who recently returned to college after playing three years of baseball in the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies minor-league organizations.

Xavier Henry is the second best Shooting Guard prospect in the draft, behind Evan Turner. It is a tribute to the depth of this draft that he is slotted in the middle of the first round on most mock drafts, because in a different draft year, his size, strength, talent and scoring ability would almost certainly garner him top-10 consideration.

Xavier Henry has declared for the 2010 NBA Draft.

 

Xavier Henry's freshman year at Kansas was really a tale of three seasons. In his first 12 games, he was scoring at will, averaging 16.5 points and shooting over 50% from the field, including 48% from the 3-point line. Then he went into a terrible shooting slump where he couldn't seem to buy a basket. In the next 12 games he shot a dismal 33% (30% from 3) while averaging only 9.75 points per game. In the final stretch of 12 games, however, he rediscovered his shooting stroke, again averaging over 50% from the field and 48% from 3-point while scoring at a 14 ppg clip.

Xavier Henry is a smooth left-hander with terrific size and strength for his position. Standing 6'6" with a 6'10" wingspan and a well-built frame, Henry has an NBA-ready body. When I say he has an NBA-ready body, I mean he's a 6'6", 220 pound brick, and he will absolutely pulverize smaller guards in the post at the next level. After reading some articles, I was expecting to see a player that doesn't display a lot of explosiveness in his game, specifically, in jumping ability and lateral quickness. But after watching a ton of Kansas games this year, I've come to the conclusion that Xavier Henry is a terrific athlete - but that he just doesn't show it a lot. When needed, he can flat out get up and explode to the rim. Most of the rest of the time, he just looks like he's making the easy play.

Henry is a smart and unselfish player, and did a good job of creating for others within Kansas' offensive system. He can slash to the basket and pull up with with a nice floater, or continue on to the rim, where his strength and great body control usually gets him the "And-1." A great finisher, his strength allows him to absorb contact and power up to the basket. He needs to work on going to the right and using his right hand, otherwise his face-up game will become predictable. As I said, some scouting reports say he doesn't have "elite" quickness, but during the games I watched, he seemed to have no trouble at all getting by his opponent with his first step. It certainly looked like a quick first step to me, and I'm sure his opponents would agree as they were looking at his back going by them.

Very unselfish, Henry is a smart and willing passer, although his assist numbers don't show it (2.1 per 40 minutes). He keeps his head up and makes quick decisive passes. He's especially good in transition and in drive and dish situations, finding the open perimeter player. He can also drive to the basket and, when contested, dump the ball to his big man. The ball rarely "sticks" to him; as he either takes the shot, drives the basket or passes the ball.

Henry possesses NBA three-point range. His shot starts out a little low (from just above his head), but he releases the ball high and has a quick release. His form is consistent, and he gets his legs into his shot, getting very good elevation. Extremely accurate when spotting up and coming off screens, he needs to work on his jump shot off the dribble, as it is not nearly as effective.  As I said, he has tremendous range, and he used that range to his advantage shooting more than 47% of his attempts from beyond the three-point line.

Even so, Henry drives quite a lot. He gets to the Free Throw line at a respectable rate (4.6 attempts per 40 minutes). Once there, he's almost automatic (78.5%). With him, there was very little middle ground. He was either putting up a 3-point shot, driving to the basket, or passing the ball. He rarely showed any mid-range game, or any ability to pull up off the dribble.

Henry has an effective, between-the-legs, right-to-left crossover dribble. He's also shown some spin moves in the paint on his drives to the basket. Still, generally, advanced ball handling is a weakness he will need to work on in the NBA.

On defense, Henry gives consistent effort and shows solid fundamentals. Again, some articles I read said he didn't have the lateral quickness to stay in front of quicker guards - but I rarely saw anyone blow past him at the college level. I thought his lateral quickness, while not eye-popping, was plenty good enough to stay in front of NBA shooting guards, especially the larger 2's in the Eastern Conference. His strength helps him with fighting through screens, so he's excellent playing the pick-and-roll. He's almost never posted up. His length helps him contest shots.  He averaged over two steals a game (per 40) by playing the passing lanes, but unlike a lot of ball thieves, he didn't gamble too much. With his size, length and strength, Henry should be a very good on-ball perimeter defender in the NBA. He's also an excellent rebounder for a guard, averaging 6.3 per 40 minutes.

STRENGTHS:

  • Left handed
  • NBA body: Size, length, Strength
  • Excellent spot up shooter
  • Excellent free throw shooter
  • Very Good passer
  • NBA 3-point range
  • Good Defensive tools: Fundamentals. Intensity. Effort. Strong. Long.
  • Excellent rebounder
  • Can post up smaller guards
  • Intangibles: Great attitude. Hard worker. Very coachable. Tough.
WEAKNESSES:
  • Needs to work on his ball handling
  • Limited at creating shots
  • Needs to work on his mid-range game
  • Needs to work on jumper off the dribble
As a freshman, Henry started off the season strong. He was shooting near 50% from the floor including from the 3-point line. Then he hit a terrible mid-season shooting slump before rebounding with a strong final push to the season. Obviously he has some skills that can immediately translate to the NBA (3-point shooting, passing, defense). He needs to continue to develop some other skills (advanced ball handling, jump shot off the dribble) - but his size and strength will give him some advantages coming into the League. Until he develops those other skills, he can fit in as the classic catch-and-shoot perimeter scorer and 3-point sniper.

Previous Draft Profiles:

John Wall PG 6-4 195 Fr Kentucky Declared for the NBA Draft.
Evan Turner SG 6-7
217 Jr. Ohio St Declared for the NBA Draft.
Wesley Johnson SF 6-7 205 Jr. Syracuse Declared for the NBA Draft.
Derrick Favors PF 6-9 246 Fr. Ga. Tech Undecided
DeMarcus Cousins C 6-11 280 Fr. Kentucky Declared for the NBA Draft.
Al-Farouq Aminu F 6-8 218 Soph. Wake Forest Declared for the NBA Draft; signed with an agent
Cole Aldrich C 6-11 245 Jr. Kansas Declared for the NBA Draft, will hire agent
Greg Monroe C 6-10 247 Soph. Georgetown Declared for the NBA Draft, will hire agent.
Patrick Patterson F 6-8 235 Jr. Kentucky Undecided
Ed Davis F 6-10 225 Soph. North Carolina Declared for the NBA Draft.
Hassan Whiteside -Upcoming
C
7-0
235
Fr.
Marshall
Declared for the NBA Draft; will hire agent
Xavier Henry
SG
6-6
220
Fr.
Kansas
Declared for the NBA Draft.
Damion James
SF
6-7
227
Sr.
Texas
Senior - Eligible for the Draft
Ekpe Udoh PF/C
6-10
240
Jr.
Baylor
Undecided
Stanley Robinson
SF
6-8
220
Sr.
UConn
Senior - Eligible for the Draft
James Anderson
SG
6-6
195
Jr.
Oklahoma St.
Declared for draft, has not hired agent
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