Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Xavier Henry, Memphis a Good Fit?

A personal take on the Xavier Henry situation.

Henry, the guard from Oklahoma City’s Putnam City High School, will sign with Memphis after a live announcement on ESPN this morning. (Video of Xavier Henry on ESPN)

It is a shocking development, as I figured Kansas was going to be the choice all along. When I spoke to him after a game last season, Henry was wearing a Kansas sweatshirt. I asked him if his choice of clothing meant anything in the recruiting process, and he quickly quipped, “No. It’s just a sweatshirt.”

One thing I can say is that Xavier Henry is not a liar.

ESPN moved Henry to the top of its Hot 100 basketball list. My only question is, what took them so long?

This marriage seems really odd. I have always enjoyed talking to Xavier. He's a great kid with a great attitude about being the best basketball player in the country. Memphis, no offense, seems to thrive on "tough" players that have a schoolyard mentality on the hardwood.

By no means am I saying Xavier is weak or would get dunked on constantly on the blacktop. Just saying Xavier's personality seemed more Kansas than Memphis. Xavier may change the perception of this program. For Henry, it might not be a good fit if the program changes the perception of Xavier.

So now the suspense of basketball recruiting in Oklahoma is pretty much over. Henry is headed to Memphis, while Bishop McGuinness (Oklahoma City) shot blocker, backboard breaker Daniel Orton is headed to Kentucky.

The made-for-TV ESPN doubleheader featuring Henry and Orton that was originally scheduled for Dec. 11 may change now that Henry will be out after having surgery on his jaw, while Orton is out until at least February after having knee surgery.

McGuinness was scheduled to play Duncanville (Texas), one of the top teams in the entire country while Putnam City will slated to play Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Now it appears Duncanville and Lincoln will play while Putnam City and McGuinness may have to travel to Dallas to face each other.

Last season, McGuinness was good enough to be the best team in the entire state regardless of classification (McGuinness was 4A). With Orton, the Irish will still be good in the race for a fourth straight 4A title, but not as intriguing on a national level.

Putnam City, picked fourth in the preseason by the Daily Oklahoman in Class 6A, will still be the team to beat without Henry. Just my opinion. A healthy Henry makes the Pirates one of the top teams in the region without question right behind Duncanville. Duncanville is ranked numero uno in the nation according to ESPN.

Not shocked about ESPN (the Evil Empire) pulling the plug on the doubleheader.

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Speaking of the evil empire, I cannot contain my excitement concerning the BCS games moving over to the “family of networks”. Almost as excited as a college basketball game between two teams that shouldn’t be in Division I on television at three in the morning. Just about as exciting as the New Kids on the Block Reunion Tour.

One thing about computer technology is that there is no button to display sarcasm.

Not only does ESPN have the monopoly on college football opinion (i.e. Herbstreit, Corso, Coach Senile, and Clueless Lineman) where fans regurgitate these opinions as their own and pawn off these ideas as their own, ESPN will now have a monopoly on the BCS games.

Now ratings wary ESPN will pretty much brainwash the masses as to who it wants in the national title game every year, just as it makes a living off telling the nation that a Florida team that lost to Ole Miss at home is the best team in the country. (Note: Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas, and Oklahoma State would beat Ole Miss by at least five touchdowns as home)

For as great as ESPN has been to sports throughout its three-decade history, ESPN can also be blamed for doing things such as putting college football on television on days like Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Friday’s are reserved for high school football. That’s our culture. Sunday’s are for rigged NFL games. Also part of our culture.

ESPN has made another living by showing games in conferences that, again, should not be in Division I-A football. (or Bowl Subdivision, whatever they call it)

ESPN will attempt to use its purchase to push for a playoff, just like President elect Barack Obama.

Guess what? It’s not happening in our lifetime. Get over it. It would be awfully difficult to convince money hungry, tuition jacking university presidents not to like money. Spare me the educational argument when most universities are in Christmas break by mid-December in the first place.

Bottom line is this; ESPN will tell you who should be in the national championship game. ESPN will tell the pollsters who to vote for weekly. ESPN will ensure it does everything in its power to achieve maximum ratings for its BCS games. Which means teams such as Ball State, Boise State, and Utah – who don’t deserve to play in the BCS despite a statue of liberty play that possibly dictates otherwise – will settle for lower-tier bowls because games in Salt Lake City and Boise won't boost ratings.

(Explanation warranted: BCS games mean nothing to players at programs such as Oklahoma. Oklahoma wants to play for national championships, not Fiesta Bowl games against a team from Idaho with blue turf. Seriously)

It’s my opinion, so it must be right.

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