Putnam City guard Xavier Henry and Bishop McGuinness forward Daniel Orton are preparing for their senior seasons, still unsure what traditional basketball power they will represent during their first year on a college campus.
Had they been born four years earlier, the duo would likely be preparing for their senior seasons with visions of being selected in the NBA Draft straight out of high school. The NBA implemented a rule in 2006 which forces a potential draftee to be at least 19 years of age and one year removed from high school to be eligible for the draft. Henry is the second-ranked player overall in the Class of 2009 and Orton is the No. 8 prospect, according to Rivalshoops.com. In the 2004 and 2005 NBA drafts, the final two years before the rule was implemented, 13 of 59 first round picks were high schoolers including nine who were ranked among Rivals' top 10 prospects in their class. "At first I was (disappointed),” said Henry of the NBA rule. "I was like, ‘There goes my shot at coming straight out of high school (to the NBA).'” The lone freshman at the NIKE All-American camp in 2005, Henry has been on the fast track to becoming a NBA player since his middle school days. Orton, the younger brother of former Oklahoma State and Bishop McGuinness standout Terrence Crawford, has skyrocketed up the rankings during his high school career and continues to rise this summer. Yet, the 6-10, 260-pounder didn't think of himself as a player who could make the jump. "I wasn't even thinking about me,” said Orton of his impression of the rule when he first heard about it. "I never saw myself as being able to go from high school to the pros so I never worried about it.” But if the rule was not in place, both players said they would strongly consider making the jump straight into the NBA. "If I was in the top five, I'd really consider it,” Henry said.
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Xavier Henry is one of the top-rated players for the 2009 class. BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN