MEMPHIS FORWARD XAVIER HENRY
Former Putnam City High School star Xavier Henry has had a rewarding rookie season as a member of the upstart Memphis Grizzlies, yet a frustrating debut personally. The NBA's second-youngest player this season (he turned 20 on March 15), Henry made 16 starts in 38 games, but hasn't played since Feb. 22 because of a sore right knee that has been slow to heal. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Henry shared a brief Q&A between Games 1 and 2 of the Grizzlies' second-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Was that your mother (Barbara) I saw in the front row at Game 1, the one wearing a Grizzlies T-shirt in a sea of Thunder blue? How'd she score that seat?
(Smiling) "Hey, got to take care of my family."
Your team really is clicking right now. Did you see this coming?
"We've been playing great for a while. We've got a lot of mismatches and stuff against other teams and we're taking advantage of them right now."
You've spoken highly before about the support the Thunder gets in OKC. The crowd seems to turn it up a notch in the playoffs.
"They've got a great crowd all the time. They say it's more like a college atmosphere. They get loud here, but we've just got to stick to our script and play our game."
Some crazed fans are starting to show up at Memphis, too. It's just your rookie year, but already you've seen a huge change in support from November to May.
"We've got a lot of fans right now, and we need that support. I don't care how we get it, but we've got a lot of people who are supporting us right now."
How many ticket requests to do you get when you play in OKC?
"I had a few, but I gave everybody a time limit. We just cut them down."
Have to ask you, how's the knee?
"It's all right. I'm still trying to get better every day."
Still no surgery scheduled?
"I have to go see the doctor. But still, no surgery."
By John Rohde