Remember the classic "When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong" sketches from the Comedy Central hit "Chapelle's Show"? Well, one of the nation's top basketball recruits learned just how such a mantra can work against him in the Internet age, when a sordid YouTube video he produced became a viral online recruiting referendum overnight.
The player in question is forward Jarion Henry of Dallas (Texas) Kimball High. As pointed out by the Dallas Morning News, Henry averaged an impressive 14.8 points, 13.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game as a senior, all while leading Kimball to a state title. His heroics drew interest from schools like Big East powers Georgetown and Marquette, with an offer also coming in from the University of New Mexico, to which he committed on Sunday after a protracted process which reportedly eventually came down to a decision between New Mexico and Georgetown.
Yet, it's that New Mexico fan base which has tapped into Henry's indiscretion, with the Albuquerque Journal finding a copy of an illicit YouTube video -- which you can see here (some of the language is too off-color for us to use in this space) -- in which Henry introduces himself, using a profane word (which starts with the letter "n"), calls for girls to "get in touch with him" and then, while donning the state championship medal he won with his Kimball teammates, commits what may be the one unpardonable sin for a college recruit: He openly admits that he plans to leave college after a single season.
Here's how the Journal described the more salacious aspects of Henry's personal cameo:
"I'm one and done," Henry says during the video that was posted on YouTube, referring to how many years he plans to attend college. "I'm going to The League (NBA). Remember I said this, one and done." […]
The video shows Henry, in what looks like a school setting, urging females to get in touch with him to get together with him.
Henry, displaying a medal, talks about how he and Kimball High School just won the Texas (4A) state prep title.
"I'm this big homie from Kimball High School in Dallas," Henry says to the camera, "so all you females over there at (hard to decipher) who want to get with a real (n-word), a real state golden (n-word) state medal winner, then holler at me, man."
Henry goes on to describe the type of female he's looking for, which is "I like it all … I'm a business man. I'm going to The League."
The question raised by Henry's video isn't simply whether he should be using language and sexual self-promotion more traditionally associated with rappers. It's whether any high school athlete should say any of the things he did when he or she still has a potential collegiate scholarship on the line.
Clearly, such a move isn't advisable, though Henry's talent and his quick acknowledgement that his YouTube clip was inadvisable -- he pulled the original clip down off the site less than a day after it first surfaced -- seem to have provided enough damage control for the budding athlete to ensure that he still has a future with Steve Alford's Lobo team (for the record, he also closed off public accessibility to his Twitter profile as well).
Whether that future includes more than one season remains to be seen, though Henry may have already answered that for us in the most controversial fashion possible.