November 29, 2009

Henry returns home for showdown with USC

When Nebraska flies halfway across the country to take on Southern Cal later this afternoon, it will be a homecoming for senior guard Sek Henry.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Henry developed his skills on the basketball court in the heart of Trojan country, and he's certainly familiar with several current USC players he grew up playing both with and against.

PREGAME NOTES
Tip: 3:30 p.m. CST
Where: Galen Center (10,258)
Head Coach: Doc Sadler 4th yr (58-41 overall)
Radio: Husker Sports Radio Network stations (Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka. Color: Andy Markowski.)
TV: FSN (Play-by-play: Steve Physioc. Color: Marques Johnson.)
Series: USC leads 5-1

But when Henry returns to his hometown for Sunday's 3:30 p.m. tip-off, he only has one goal in mind - come back to Nebraska with a victory.

"It's going to be fun," Henry said. "I'm going to be happy. I have a couple friends on that team. I went back home already in July, and I was at Arby's and people were already talking a little smack. It's going to be fun playing against them, but when I get down there, it's serious business. I don't want to lose to them."

Henry grew up within walking distance of USC's campus, and he saw his share of Trojan basketball and football games as a kid. However, even though he was heavily recruited by the Trojans during high school and after his first season at the Patterson School, the 6-3 guard had little interest in staying at home for college.

Instead, Henry said he wanted to get as far away from Los Angeles as possible.

Nebraska (3-1)
3:30 p.m.
Southern Cal (2-1)
FSN
PROJECTED STARTERS
Nebraska 3-1
Pos # Name Yr Pts/reb
G 5 Sek Henry (6-4, 200) Sr 11.8/4.3
G 34 Lance Jeter (6-3, 225) Jr 9.8/2.8
G/F 44 Ryan Anderson (6-4, 195) Sr 9.8/4.0
F 13 Brandon Ubel (6-10, 220) Fr 5.8/3.5
C 21 Jorge Brian Diaz (6-11, 235) RFr 10.3/4.8
USC 2-1
Pos # Name Yr Pts/reb
G 21 Dwight Lewis (6-5, 215) Sr 16.5/4.0
G 20 Marcus Simmons (6-6, 200) Jr 14.5/5.0
F 43 Kasey Cunningham (6-7, 225) Jr 2.5/1.70
F 5 Nikola Vucevic (6-10, 220) So 18.5/9.5
G 14 Donte Smith (5-0, 215) Jr 11.0/2.5
"(USC was) very interested in me, but that's just too close to home," he said. "Sometimes you just need to go away from home to be more focused. Being around a place like that, it'd be like going to another high school. It's like right down the street of my house."

So Henry originally signed with Arizona State following his senior year of high school, but because he still had some issues to shore up with his academics, he enrolled at the Patterson School for the 2005-06 season.

A year later, he went to probably the furthest thing from the hustle and bustle of L.A. when he accepted a scholarship to play for Nebraska.

Henry still makes it back to L.A. at least once a year when he goes back to play in summer leagues in the area, which is where he became friends with several USC players.

Some of the Trojans Henry knows well are forwards Marcus Johnson and Alex Stepheson and guards Percy Miller and Dwight Lewis.

Apparently the trash talk leading up to Sunday's reunion has been going on for a few months now, as Henry said some of his friends back home already had some things to say when he came back in July.

As would be expected, Henry said he has countless friends and family coming to today's game. Even though USC is the home team, Henry said his cheering section better be pro-Nebraska only.

"They better be cheering for Nebraska," he said, "because I'm going to get on them."

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

Nebraska struggled mightily in its first road game of the season, as it was admittedly out-muscled and out-played in a 69-55 loss to Saint Louis. Today, head coach Doc Sadler said the Huskers especially seniors Henry and Ryan Anderson would have play some of their bets basketball to make up for the rest of the team's inexperience in hostile environments. Keep an eye on how well the Huskers are able to respond to playing so far away from home.

WHO'S HOT FOR THE HUSKERS

For the second game in a row, Henry led the way in a number of different areas in Nebraska's win over Missouri-Kansas City on Tuesday. Along with a game-high 14 points, Henry hauled in five rebounds and dished out four assists, which were both team highs on the night.

WHO'S HOT FOR THE TROJANS

At 6-10, 220 pounds, sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic could present one of the biggest challenges for the Huskers this season. Not only does he match up physically with the Huskers' big men, he is also the Trojans' leading scorer (18.5 points per game) and leading rebounder (9.5 rebounds per game.)



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