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February 16, 2012

Power forward opts for prep school

The four stars listed next to his name serve as wonderful garnish, but the actual beef sitting on the plate isn't going to cut it ... not yet. Or so goes the thought process in the camp of 6-foot-8 power forward Demetrius Henry, anyway.

At 210 pounds, the high school senior doesn't fancy himself ready for college basketball. So, despite being fully qualified academically, he's decided to pack his bags for prep school next season.

The extra year is all in the name of muscle. Henry will spend next year at Florida's Faith Baptist Christian School, where he'll look to add nearly 20 pounds to his frame and polish his talent, which is already turning the heads of Division I coaches to the tune of seven scholarship offers.

"This is going to get him stronger," said Henry's AAU coach, Kenny Gillion. "He could have came to college this year and contributed, but I think the reclassification will allow him to come in and be a guy who could possibly average a double-double his freshman year."

Ultimately, the revised, 2013 arrival date could help add a fifth star to his Rivals.com bio, but success in his recruitment is about seeing the promise from the jump. Kansas State, Missouri, Murray State, Miami, South Florida and Virginia Tech have already offered scholarships, and the gesture apparently means something at this stage in the process.

Sooner or later, the mailbox is closing and the ringers are going off. According to Gillion, coaches need to join the party now or not bother knocking on the door down the road.

Swooping in late isn't an option here.

"If you haven't put an offer on the table by at least April, I don't even think Demetrius will be entertaining you," Gillian said on Thursday.

And so some schools sit in better positions than others. No pecking order or favorites have been established, but being involved at this juncture provides a leg up, as the time for weighing new options is winding down.

"If there's anyone out there right now who has really been on him, I'd say it's (assistant coach) James Kane at Murray State," Gillian said, "All of them are kind of even, though. Virginia Tech, South Florida, Kansas State; they've all done a great job. He could tell you something positive about each one of the schools.

Visits, which Gillian said won't play a major role in Henry's decision, haven't been made or scheduled. Instead, the forward does his research from home by investigating proclamations made by coaches interested in his services. To him, this decision is too big to base on campus scenery and the promises of strangers.

"Seeing a campus isn't that important to my guys," Gillion said. "My guys don't take a whole lot of visits. He's looking at what the coaches are doing. A coach told him he plays an up-tempo style, so he watches to see if they really do that. When a coach tells him he improved some big guy, he looks at the track record to make sure it's real. That's what he's doing."

According to Gillion, Henry, who currently attends Oak Park (Fla.) Northeast High School and plays the AAU circuit with Team Breakdown, will look to trim his list this summer and could be committed as early as August.

Assistant coach Lamont Evans is handling Henry's recruitment for K-State.



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