Wiping away tears, Kansas freshman Xavier Henry said Wednesday he's headed for the NBA draft because his coaches have helped him get ready.
Averaging almost 14 points and five rebounds, the 6-foot-6 guard was the second-leading scorer for a team that won a sixth straight Big 12 championship and was ranked No. 1 most of the season, before getting upset in the second round of the NCAA tournament by Northern Iowa.
"I think coach prepared me as well as he can," said Henry, flanked by his brother, C.J., and coach Bill Self. "He kept me confident throughout the whole season even when I went through slumps. He got my mindset ready to be able to play with anybody."
Henry said he agonized over the decision even though it had been widely assumed that he would be Kansas' first one-and-done player.
"People who really know me knew it would be a tough decision either way because they know I love people and once I start bonding with people that it's real hard for me to let go," he said.
"The people outside looking in, they probably had no idea what I was thinking."
A smooth left-handed shooter who scored mostly from the outside, Henry was a starter from the opening day on a team that finished 32-3. He joins two other starters from the Big 12 champions who plan to enter the draft: senior guard Sherron Collins and junior center Cole Aldrich, who announced last week that he would skip his senior season.
Self termed it a "happy day" that his prize guard had an opportunity to build a good life for himself.
"I'm not going to lose sleep over losing these three guys," he said. "I'm going to be happy for them."
Henry's father, mother and aunt were all scholarship basketball players at Kansas, a point Self stressed when he began recruiting the Oklahoma City native not long after he entered high school. The brothers first decided to play for John Calipari at Memphis and C.J. was already there last year when Calipari left for Kentucky.
A short time later, the brothers opted for Kansas.