Local Basketball Star Wins Player of the Year Award

Andre Henry was one of 14 basketball players to earn the prestigious John R. Wooden award.

The legend of La Cañada Flintridge resident Andre Henry continues to grow as the recent St. Francis High School graduate earned one of the most prestigious high school basketball awards.
The UC Irvine-bound standout is now associated with an honor named for another legend after being selected as the John R. Wooden CIF Southern Section Division II Player of the Year last Friday. Other notable winners include Chatsworth Sierra Canyon’s Ziaire Williams, who committed to play at Stanford, and Lakewood Mayfair’s Josh Christopher, who will continue his career at Arizona State. Both were considered five-star recruits.
“I feel like I was recognized with future pros,” he said. “Those guys are future NBA players. I would say it is one of the biggest highlights of my high school career.
“Honestly, this is huge for me. I just feel like all the hard work I put in finally paid off and I got the recognition. It’s a huge honor to have my name in the same sentence as [John Wooden]. Some would argue he’s the greatest coach ever in any sport. It’s a dream come true. I’m truly speechless.
There’s also a case to be made for Henry as one of the school’s greatest basketball players, along with former Houston Rocket’s NBA star Mike Newlin, who played at SFHS in the 1960s. In four years, he averaged 17.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game and set career records in points, wins, rebounds and games played. Henry was the Mission League’s most valuable player and state player of the year. He also made the All-CIF first team the last two years.
“Andre is in the argument for best player ever to wear a St. Francis jersey,” SFHS head basketball coach Todd Wolfson wrote in an email. “He lives two minutes away from St. Francis. It’s nice when local athletes make a huge impact at their school. He will come back years from now and tell people that he helped put this program on the map. Not only a great basketball player, Andre is a young man of service, high character and holds a 4.0 GPA.”
Henry propelled the Golden Knights to great heights last season with a 30-8 record (the most wins in school history) and a CIF State Southern Regional championship. The squad was set to play in the CIF State Division II championship but the game was canceled due to the pandemic.
“It made me more grateful of the time I had with everything just being taken away, especially basketball,” Henry said. “It was hard on a lot of us and lot of people in the world. It all showed me to be more grateful for the things we have.”
The 6-foot 3-inch guard has been playing basketball since he can remember. Henry’s parents bought him a small basketball hoop at a young age and he could not stop “shooting hoops.”
“I always had a love for it,” he said. “I love the game.”
Henry played in local youth leagues and travel teams before making the “best decision” to attend St. Francis.
“They taught me how to become a man and what it takes to be successful in the real world and got me prepared for the next chapter in my life, which is college,” said Henry, who is a La Cañada High School 7/8 graduate. “I’ve never met a community that was so uplifting, that always wants what is best for you. I always felt like if I was ever in a pickle, they’d always lend a hand to me. St. Francis is for life.”
The Golden Knight is now proud of becoming an Anteater. Irvine is a program on the rise, making headlines in 2019 when the men’s basketball program won the Big West Tournament and entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 13 seed. The team upset fourth-seeded Kansas State before falling to Oregon.
“I can’t describe how excited I am,” Henry said. “I talk to my coaches probably once a week and we just talk to see how we’re doing. I’m so happy about this situation at Irvine. I literally can’t wait. The trust and belief they have in me is amazing.”
Henry has not gone out much since March and dedicated his time to training at home. He cut out sweets to remain in shape and is ready for his coach’s call to play.
“I’m just at my house lifting six days a week, shooting and working on my ball handling,” he said. “I’m just trying to improve my game. I know one thing that’s going to be huge at the next level is strength. I know I have to get stronger. I also want to get faster.”

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