Nowitzki of the Gridiron? Hunter Henry to focus on football

January 16, 2012 - Pulaski's Hunter Henry (41) drives to the basket defended by Briarcrest's Austin Nichols (44) during their game Monday at the FedExForum. (Nikki Boertman / The Commercial Appeal)

Pulaski Academy, the top-ranked team in 4A, lost its first game on Monday, falling to Briarcrest Christian School 70-54 in the Martin Luther King Basketball Classic in downtown Memphis. Junior guard Brandon Brady led the Bruins (13-1) with 15 points. Sophomore guard Marcus Wallace added 14 points. Two players scored 14 points for Briarcrest (12-4), an east Memphis private school. The 5 p.m. game was played at the FedEx Forum but the teams had arrived more than five hours earlier to watch the Memphis Grizzlies play the Chicago Bulls. Bruins head coach Roger Franks said he scheduled his team’s game through the help of a friend who works for the Grizzlies, and was excited his players got the chance to watch elite basketball.
I visited the Bruins, who were seated in the nosebleed section, in the second half. Here are some highlights:

 Hunter Henry focusing on football in college

  Henry, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound junior, is used to playing a pivotal role for the Bruins as the football team’s star tight tend. But in recent weeks, he’s shouldered more of the scoring burden for the basketball team because of teammate Dusty Hannahs’ injury. Henry estimates he has been scoring about 20 points a game and around eight rebounds, and added his favorite NBA player is Dallas Maverick Dirk Nowitzki. “I like to base my game off his. I’m a post man who likes to play out on the court.”
Henry is a high Division I recruit in football, but with his recent on-court success would he consider also playing basketball in college? Nah. He’s almost certainly going to devote himself to football.      “Your time’s so occupied” as a Division I student-athlete, he said. “I’m gonna choose one and do it. Commit my time to it.”

Dusty Hannahs shooting for return to court next week

  Hannahs, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard, was having a memorable senior season – averaging in the upper 20s – before hurting his right wrist six games ago. He hasn’t played since then, but despite his cast has still practiced his dribbling and left-handed (off-hand) perimeter shooting. He’ll return to his doctor Thursday and if the cast is removed, as expected, he should resume playing early next week. Hannahs is burning to get back onto the court after the layoff. But as we watched the Grizzlies pull away from the Bulls, I learned something else motivates him – Sacramento King rookie Jimmer Fredette’s background.
Hannahs said Fredette, the collegiate national player of the year last season at BYU, is one of his favorite players. “He has a killer instinct, he shoots well and is my size,” said Hannahs, a Texas Tech signee. Fredette was a 2-star recruit during high school, just like Hannahs. Dusty knows he has a  2-star ranking (out of a maximum five stars) on rivals.com and scout.com, and allows that to motivate him. “I laugh about it” and then get to working, he added.  When it comes to excelling at a high Division I program and making the NBA, Fredette “shows me that if he can do it, maybe I can too it if continue to work hard.”

 Scalabrine sighting!

  On Monday night, Bruin teammates Hunty Henry and Jack Snider rolled into downtown Memphis and had a little time to enjoy the scenery. They visited Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and Blues City Cafe. At the cafe, the Bruins bumped into some Bulls when Chicago teammates Brian Scalabrine and Omer Asik (pronounced “Ah-shik”) entered. “We talked for a few minutes and got a pic,” Henry recalled. “It was fun.”

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