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Xavier Henry having to prove himself again

By Brandon Chatmon, Staff Writer, Published: June 20, 2010
It was something he had never experienced before, an unusual feeling which served as an early test of his mental toughness.

Until this point, Xavier Henry had lived the charmed basketball life. The former Putnam City standout was the only eighth grader invited to the NIKE All-American camp in 2005, he was a driving force behind two state title teams at Putnam City before earning McDonald's and Jordan All-American honors as a senior, and he was one of the nation's top freshmen during his first, and only, year at Kansas.

Yet, after Henry declared for the NBA Draft, there were several people, for the first time, questioning his ability.

Is he athletic enough to play two-guard in the NBA? Is he quick enough to guard Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and the other stellar guards in the league? Is he too one-dimensional? Can he create his own shot?

"Xavier, everybody thinks is a little bit soft,” ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb said. "But he is skilled and can shoot. He'll be lucky to be a starter in the NBA, I'm not huge on Xavier.”

Harsh words. Yet, not uncommon.

ESPN's Chad Ford lists a lack of explosive athleticism and settling for jumpers among Henry's weaknesses, and called him a "good, not great athlete.”

"That was the first time (in my life) they started (questioning my ability),” Henry said. "My confidence wasn't shaken, I just had to go out and prove them wrong.”

So Henry set out to prove himself, scheduling more than 10 workouts with various teams around the league.


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