Most of this is basic stuff everyone knows, but I felt it was necessary to set the whole thing up. If for nothing else than to put all of the ridiculousness of the entire situation into one, tidy package.
So, basically, this is where we're at right now. Xavier and C.J. Henry, sons of ex-Jayhawks Carl Henry and Barbara Henry, grew up fans of Kansas. So, when college decisions rolled around, and coaches from across the country came a-callin', Kansas was the natural fit. C.J. picked the Hawks, but his collegiate career was put in hold when he was drafted by those damn Yankees.
After an entirely failed baseball career, where he appeared in the news for but a day in 3 years-and-change, when he was the headliner in Bobby Abreu's trade to the Bronx, C.J. wanted to return to college basketball. Xavier, his younger brother, was down to Memphis and Kansas, so C.J. was too. He chose Coach Calipari, and Xavier subsequently picked Memphis the following November.
Coach Calipari left to go to Kentucky, in a move that completely and entirely changed so many recruiting decisions, it'd take days to fully account for the carnage.* They subsequently reopened their recruitment, with C.J., as a walk-on, able to transfer without sitting out a year, this time choosing between Kansas and Kentucky.
* I mean, not to go all JoePo on you, but it's mind-boggling. John Wall, who wasn't really considering Kentucky, and was probably going to Memphis, ends up in Lexington. Same with DeMarcus Cousins, although he had already committed. Same with Xavier Henry, except he (most likely) ended up in Lawrence. Lance Stephenson, who was announcing his decision to attend Kansas (according to multiple sources, at least), just decides today on the Cincinnati Bearcats. I'm not a huge recruiting guy, but wow. It would be interesting to do a retrospective in a couple of years, figuring out how everything would have been different if Calipari would have just stayed at Memphis. Hell, it'd be interesting to read one in a month-or-so.
They chose Kansas. It may or may not have had anything to do with Barbara Henry's desire, or lack thereof, to live in the Bluegrass State. But whatever the reason, they chose the Jayhawks. On Sunday, J. Brady McCullogh penned what I thought to be a wonderful article about the lives of the Henrys. In it, the Henrys were portrayed as, well, stuck-up, spoiled-out-of-their-mind kids. And yes, that includes Carl. They didn't like such a portrayal, naturally. I would hope nobody would. Of course, instead of just realizing that, hey, we do kinda sound like that, don't we Xav, they freaked out. And now, they might switch back to Kentucky. Over a freaking newspaper article. I have no idea what this world is coming to.
Now, word is coming out that, after all, the Henrys are coming to Kansas. So, take it for what you want.
My own, personal thoughts on the matter after the jump.
The news that the Henrys are coming back, which appears to be flying from everywhere now (610 Sports, Shay over at JS, etc.), should be the final drop in this ridiculous roller coaster ride. But, is it a good thing? Sure. A bad thing? As an magic 8-ball would say: "possibility looks promising".
So, in fairness to all sides, and to provide some positives so I don't get a nasty email from Carl Henry telling me that my post has reopened their recruitment for the 18th time. Most aren't really either 'good' or 'bad', but I'll break out the two best and two worst reasons into their own sections. I'm sure I'll have plenty more to say in the coming days, but this is just the opening stanza.
Why I'll be Super Stoked if the Henrys Come to Kansas. No, Really, I Can't Wait.
- Talent, Stupid. With Xavier at the 2, or the 3, or whatever he ends up playing, getting 25-30 minutes a night, and C.J. Henry getting 10-15 off the bench (whatever Carl says, he isn't better than Sherron or Tyshawn), we are a better team with those minutes instead going to, say, Brady Morningstar and Marcus Morris. From a sheer, winning-is-the-goal point of view, it's a no-brainer. And I think we can all agree that we want to win a National Championship this year. So, yeah. If they come to Lawerence, we have as big of a talent gap over the rest of the country as North Carolina had this year. They won the National Championship, with an inferior coach too (yes, I went there, sorry, couldn't hlep it). That bodes well, to say the least.
- No NCAA Violations. Yeah, this is an ordeal. A saga. A ridiculous event that has drawn out months longer than necessary. But, at the very least, they at least appear to be doing everything within the NCAA's rules and regulations. So, while it's frustrating, and they are merely using Kansas as a springboard to get to riches in the NBA, at least they won't leave us a big heap of a mess once they left, like O.J. Mayo.
You Know What, It'd Be Okay if You All Just Decided to Slum it with Calipari. No, Really.
- They don't even want to come to Kansas! This is what irks me the most. I mean, I don't want to act like we're better than everybody else, and you should have to jump through hoops showing your dedication to Kansas and everything Jayhawk before you're allowed to come to school. That's ridiculous. But I would, at the very least, like to hear something about looking forward to chasing after a National Championship or something. Anything other than "this is a one-year thing that we have to get through, even if we really don't want to." I tend to prefer players who act appreciative of getting to go to college for free and play at one of the more prestigous basketball programs in the world. Call me crazy.
- It wouldn't be the same. Last year was my favorite season of Kansas basketball in my lifetime. Now, obviously, it didn't have the bestest end result. I'm not stupid or nothing. But being the underdog, if only for awhile, was fun as shit, man. Now, obviously, we won't be the underdog to just about anybody next season, Henrys or no Henrys. But still, wouldn't it be way more fun to win it all with the same team that grew together as a team last season, adding only the extra pieces to take the next step? I think it would. Way more fun. It would feel way more special, like it was a multi-year process of growing as a team, making whatever end result more satisfying. Obviously, winning is the most important. But, as J. Brady put it in his article, this isn't any type of romantic. Like, at all.
Basically, with the news all-but-confirmed they are coming now, I suppose I'm excited. They are good players. They make us better. They probably will realize that the best way to get noticed is to not destroy the team's chemistry and let the team go as far as possible. A winning Kansas team gets the press, and plenty of the press will go to Xavier and C.J., and good press boosts draft stock, yadda yadda yadda. You get the message. They should get the message.
Really, I bet there isn't too much of an issue on the team. Winning a National Championship would be fucking awesome, obviously, even if we went the Calipari route and tried to one-and-done the entire thing. It wouldn't be quite as sweet with the Henry mercenaries aiding, but I'd rather win with mercenaries (or whatever you want to call them) than lose with diehard Hawk fans.
So, let me be the first to say:
"Let's start over, Xavier and C.J. Hell, you too Carl. We're all fighting for the same thing (kind of), so let's just move on and work together."