December 22, 2009

Rivals.com Five-Star Freshman Tracker

MORE: Freshman power rankings

Kansas' dynamic duo has grown into a terrific trio.

The Jayhawks opened the season atop both major national polls because they returned two national player of the year candidates in point guard Sherron Collins and center Cole Aldrich.

But neither of those players leads Kansas in scoring. That honor instead belongs to freshman guard Xavier Henry, who arrived on campus as the No. 8 prospect in the 2009 recruiting class.

Henry has averaged 17.7 points and has scored at least 11 points in each of the Jayhawks' first 10 games this season. That includes a 31-point outburst Dec. 12 in a 90-65 rout of La Salle that showcased Henry's ability to make the most of his opportunities.

Henry, a 6-foot-6 guard from Oklahoma City Putnam, was 10-of-15 from the floor -including 4-for-5 from 3-point range - and 7-for-9 from the free-throw line during his 31-point performance. He has made at least half his shot attempts in eight of his 10 games this season.

"Getting 31 points on 15 shots is pretty good, especially for a freshman," Kansas coach Bill Self said after the La Salle game. "He didn't take bad looks, and he shared the ball also."

Henry came to Kansas with a reputation as an outstanding 3-point shooter, and he hasn't disappointed in that regard. He ranks second in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage (.491) and fourth in 3-pointers per game (2.6).

But he's no one-dimensional player. Henry already has proved he can drive to the basket as effectively as he shoots long-range jumpers.

"I'm just a good all-around player," Henry said. "Most of the time when they throw it inside, I'm wide open [outside], so people just say I shoot the '3.' When I'm shooting wide-open 3-pointers, there's no need to drive it inside. [My inside game] is probably overlooked just because I can make threes. I just take a lot because I'm wide open."

Here's a look at how Henry and all the other five-star prospects from the 2009 class are faring. The players are listed in the order in which they were ranked as recruits.

The Class of 2009 five stars
Season averages: 17.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.4 steals, 34.2 minutes
The buzz: Wall is emerging as a front-runner for most national player of the year awards, but he still needs to improve his assist-turnover ratio. Wall has recorded more assists than turnovers in only two of his last five games, and he is averaging 4.5 turnovers per game.
Season averages: 14.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 19.2 minutes
The buzz: As he has gained experience, Cousins has settled down from the free-throw line. After going 29-of-56 on free throws in Kentucky's first nine games, Cousins has gone 17-of-18 over his last three games.
Season averages: 13.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.2 steals, 1.2 assists, 26.6 minutes
The buzz: Favors has blocked at least two shots in eight consecutive games and has recorded at least three blocks in each of his past four contests. He also has three double-doubles in his past four games.
Season averages: 11.9 points, 2.2 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.4 rebounds, 24.5 minutes
The buzz: Bradley delivered a breakthrough performance Saturday in a 103-90 victory over defending national champion North Carolina. Bradley set career-highs with 20 points and four rebounds and matched a career-high with three steals against the Tar Heels.
Season averages: 3.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 11.2 minutes
The buzz: After scoring 11 points and pulling down nine rebounds to set career-highs in both categories Dec. 12 against Presbyterian, Henson went scoreless and had just one rebound a week later against Texas.
Season averages: 9.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steals, 19.1 minutes
The buzz: Hamilton averaged 14 points in a three-game stretch against Long Beach State, Texas State and Texas-Pan American before shooting 2-for-10 and scoring just five points against North Carolina. He is averaging 6.7 rebounds over his past three games.
Season averages: 7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 20.8 minutes
The buzz: The good news: Snaer had scored in double figures in four consecutive games before he was held to five points Sunday in a 66-59 overtime victory over Georgia Tech. The bad news: Snaer has 15 turnovers and only two assists over his past five games.
Season averages: 17.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.7 assists, 27.7 minutes
The buzz: Henry has scored at least 11 points in every game he has played this season to become the leading scorer on the nation's top-ranked team. He also has gone 16-of-32 from 3-point range over his past five games.
9. F Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Oklahoma
Season averages: 11.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 24.3 minutes
The buzz: Gallon is an exceptional rebounder when he can stay out of foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes Dec. 12 before fouling out of a 78-73 overtime victory over Utah. Gallon committed four fouls in each of the Sooners' last two games.
Season averages: 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 18.5 minutes
The buzz: Yarou has missed nine consecutive games since being diagnosed with hepatitis B.
Season averages: 13.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 29.4 minutes
The buzz: Stephenson scored just eight points before fouling out of a 64-47 loss to UAB on Wednesday, but he followed that up by scoring 19 points and dishing out five assists Saturday in an 80-52 rout of Lipscomb.
Season averages: 13.7 points, 3.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 32.2 minutes
The buzz: Boynton has lived up to expectations, but he still needs to improve his shooting stroke. Boynton leads the Gators in scoring despite shooting 37 percent overall and 21.9 percent (16-of-73) from 3-point range.
Season averages: 4.3 points, 2.6 assists, 1.3 rebounds, 19.0 minutes
The buzz: Gaddy has been held scoreless in three of his past five games. He has reached double figures just once this season, an 11-point effort Dec. 6 in an 88-76 victory over Cal State Northridge.
Season averages: 5.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 16.5 minutes
The buzz: Taylor shot 4-for-4 and scored 12 points Dec. 8 in a loss to Indiana, but that marks one of only two games this season in which he has made more than two baskets.
Season averages: 9.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 19.0 minutes
The buzz: After being held scoreless Dec. 11 in a 76-69 loss to Western Kentucky, Jenkins bounced back by averaging 14.5 points over his next two games. He scored 12 points in an 84-71 win over Tennessee State and collected a career-high 17 points in a 99-59 rout of Mercer.
Season averages: Not applicable
The buzz: Sidney hasn't played this season as he awaits clearance from the NCAA, which is investigating his amateur status.
17. F Latavious Williams, Tulsa 66ers
Season averages: 4.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 13.8 minutes
The buzz: Although the NBA requires U.S.-born players to be at least 19 years old and one year out of high school before they can enter the draft, prospects can turn pro directly out of high school if they enter the NBA Development League. Williams chose to take that route and became the first person drafted out of high school by the D-League.
Season averages: 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 14.0 minutes
The buzz: Judge scored a career-high 15 points in an 87-74 victory Saturday at Alabama, but that marks the only time in his last seven games that he has compiled more than three points. Judge shot 6-for-7 and pulled down seven rebounds against the Tide.
Season averages: Not applicable
The buzz: White announced last week through a YouTube video that he was giving up college basketball, at least for the time being. He has had some legal issues and has not played for the Golden Gophers.
Season averages: 3.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.0 assists, 12.6 minutes
The buzz: Kelly played a season-high 20 minutes and scored two points Tuesday in a 113-68 victory over Gardner-Webb. He scored five points and played 11 minutes Saturday in a 76-41 rout of Gonzaga.
Season averages: 5.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 30.9 minutes
The buzz: Oriakhi has scored a total of four points in Connecticut's past three games, but he also has blocked nine shots during that stretch. He matched a career high with four blocks Sunday in a 60-51 victory over UCF before fouling out.
Season averages: 3.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 15.1 minutes
The buzz: Orton fouled out of back-to-back games against Connecticut and Indiana before committing just one foul over his next two games. Orton played just nine minutes against Connecticut and 18 minutes against Indiana.
Season averages: 10.0 points, 2.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 28.1 minutes
The buzz: Bledsoe scored 23 points and shot 8-for-10 on Dec. 12 in a 90-73 victory over Indiana, but that represents the only time he has reached double figures in his last eight games.
Season averages: 4.3 points, 2.7 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 12.2 minutes
The buzz: Johnson scored 11 points on Dec. 9 in a 99-64 victory over Radford, but that marks the only time in the past five games that he has scored more than one point. He didn't play at all Saturday in a 75-64 victory over Michigan.
Season averages: 4.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 14.0 minutes
The buzz: Jennings scored eight points, shot 4-for-6 and collected a career-high six rebounds Saturday in a 94-55 victory over College of Charleston. Jennings has gone 0-for-10 from 3-point range over his past nine games.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.




 

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