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KU's Xavier Henry is going pro

Xavier Henry's eyes were already watery when he sat down to begin his press conference announcing his intention to go pro after one year at Kansas.

Henry struggled to get through parts of his opening statement as tears fell. There were happy tears because he will now get to pursue his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA and some sad tears because he is leaving behind his KU teammates and the college experience he once didn't think was necessary for a player of his caliber.

Eventually, Henry was given a tissue, which helped him navigate the rest of the way.

Here's his opening statement: "First of all I'd like to thank everyone for coming. First I'd like to give thanks to God because I know I'm real fortunate and blessed to be put in this position. A lot of people don't get the opportunity to do anything like this. They'd give their life to be in the position I'm in today. I would like to thank Coach Self and all the coaching staff for helping me this whole year, getting me prepared and ready to succeed, that when it was my time to leave, I'd be ready to do better things. I'd like to thank my teammates also for just being themselves. They kept me grounded this year. We had a lot of fun this year, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

"I"d like to thank my brother, my family, my mom and my dad, my whole support system at home. It's unbelievable what they've done for me, helping me get to college, helping me be the best person I can be on the court as well as off. They've made me the person that I am today. I also like to thank my coaches and their families as well for helping me ever since I got here to feel comfortable. They allowed us to be ourselves and they were so nice and generous to all of us players. There was just a sense of comfort being around here, being with my coaches and my teammates.

"I'd like to thank all the fans, for all the people that support KU, for coming to our games, for cheering us on, that's what makes playing in that building so special to me. I absolutely loved going to school this year. And I love having all the times with my teammates. We had our moments this year, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

"But I'm here to announce that I am putting my name into the 2010 NBA Draft. I am planning to hire an agent, but right now we're in the interviewing process."

More to come in Thursday's Star.

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