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Michigan State Men’s Basketball: Aaron Henry withdraws name from NBA Draft, plans to return to school

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NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

With the NCAA’s Aug. 3 deadline nearly upon us, Michigan State Spartans forward/wing Aaron Henry has decided to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to school for his junior year.

Regarding his decision, Henry had this to say, via ESPN:

“This decision was based off wanting to maximize my opportunity to be coached by the best coach in the game in Tom Izzo and reach my dreams and full potential,” Henry told ESPN. “I wanted to put myself in the best situation possible and not rush anything to make sure I start my career on the right foot. This was a tough decision, but year three will be the year.”

In his first two years in East Lansing, Henry averaged 7.8 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game. He also shot 46.4 percent from the floor, 35.7 percent from the three-point line and 69.8 percent from the free line. As a sophomore this past season, Henry averaged 10 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game.

However, it was the defensive end in which Henry excelled in under head coach Tom Izzo. Henry would use his length and athleticism to often lock down scorers on opposing teams, and showed a seamless ability to check both guards and forwards.

In an odd year in which the NBA Combine and Draft were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, it was hard for players like Henry to get a good read on their draft stock. While players could meet virtually with teams, the ability to work out in front of NBA personnel or meet face-to-face with them was taken away from prospects.

While a new Combine date is yet to be announced, the NBA did send out emails to players letting them know they’ve received the most votes from the league’s general managers to receive an invite to the event. Henry and fellow Spartans Xavier Tillman and Cassius Winston all made the list.

This is huge for Michigan State. With Henry back in the fold, the Spartans remain a top contender in both the Big Ten and at the national level, and should be a preseason top-10 or top-15 team. We’ll discuss this move and how it affects the team moving forward in more detail in future posts.

While it certainly sounds like Henry has decided with 100 percent certainty to return to East Lansing, it is important to note that even though Henry has withdrawn his name (allowing him to retain his NCAA eligibility), he still has two weeks to re-enter the Draft, as the NBA’s deadline is not until Aug. 17. This seem like an unlikely scenario, but is still a possibility.

While Henry’s decision to return is certainly reason for celebration, fellow Spartan Xavier Tillman will forgo his senior season at MSU and keep his name in the NBA Draft. That is a big loss for the Spartans, but we certainly are grateful for Tillman’s time in East Lansing, and wish him the best of luck in the professional ranks.

Go Green!