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Westtown's Kennedy Henry staying local at Villanova

07/08/2024, 10:00am EDT
By Joseph Santoliquito

By Joseph Santoliquito (@JSantoliquito)

Kennedy Henry decided to stay home. 

The 6-foot-tall wing has had an active summer. She is transferring from Blair Academy in North Jersey, and on June 21, she committed to Villanova and Wildcats’ coach Denise Dillon.

Kennedy Henry (above) playing with Philly Rise 17's in April. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

This came after Henry, a four-star recruit ranked No. 77 in her class by ESPN, decommitted from her original choice, Virginia Tech, in April after the Hokie program underwent a coaching change and Kenny Brooks left for Kentucky, replaced by Marquette coach Megan Duffy.

Henry, who lives in Delaware and averaged 20 points and 8 rebounds a game her junior year at Blair, becomes Dillon and Villanova’s first commit in the 2025 class—and she is incredibly pleased to have a college destination with the bonus of playing major college basketball so close to home.

Henry chose Villanova over Big East rivals Georgetown and St. John’s.

“I liked Villanova’s family vibe,” she told CoBL. “When I was on official visit, I got a great sense of their family vibe; they really seem to care and they have a great alumni base and educationally, I know I will be set after the ball stops bouncing. 

“Villanova does a lot of read-and-react stuff, which I was looking for in a college program,” added the lanky wing, a skilled outside shooter. “I like to shoot, that was definitely a big thing for me, because different coaches like different playing styles, and I feel I am more like a dribble-drive, pass-and-kick, ‘one more’ [pass] type of player.

“I feel like Villanova does that. That style will help be successful in college.”

Henry said Villanova is projecting her to be a ‘2’ or ‘3’ though in high school, being 6-foot, she has had to guard bigs. She feels she can cover anyone at the college level. Her versatility makes her that much more attractive.

The move from Blair Academy to Westtown, which features the star duo of 2027s Jordyn Palmer and Jessie Moses on a loaded roster, was to get closer to home her senior year. Both are high-academic boarding schools, but Westtown has considerable firepower with Palmer and Moses, who Henry will not practice against every day. Henry plays with Palmer and Moses, as well as 2025 Olivia Jones and 2026 Atlee Vanesko, on the Philly Rise AAU team.

“The competition every day will make me a better player, and I’m fully aware of their ability and I’m ready to give up a piece of my game, just because of how talented that team is, and because that is what is going to have to happen in college,” Henry said. “I am fully aware of being a role player, because of how talented Westtown is. Preparation for that mentality now is a big thing. I do not want to get to college and have to make a big difference in my game. I have been able to play different roles on a team. I am capable of doing that already.

“I’m excited to play my position and showcase my talent for what it is. Being around Westtown will make me a better person off the court, and a better player. Winning is the priority.”

Henry said a priority this summer was to add muscle to her frame. This is the most consistent that she has been on a weight-training program. She feels her best basketball is ahead of her, as she physically matures. She wants to be able to take hits against bigs around the basket.

“I do feel stronger than I was this time last year; I don’t get knocked off my feet as much when I’m dribbling,” said Henry, who started playing organized basketball in fourth grade. “When someone would bump me, I have greater balance, and can take the ball to the basket, or get the foul.  

“Committing early was a good move. I was dealing with a lot of stress personally, dealing with family stuff and I had to perform to get offers. It was a little nerve-wracking. Because I committed last summer, no other schools were really looking at me again.”

Henry went into the first live period this spring with no new college offers after her decommitment. She felt she was put on stage again, wondering what college coaches were looking at her.

“That was pretty stressful, but when I reopened my commitment, Villanova was the first school to offer,” she said. “That took off some of the stress, because I had someplace to go. It just happened that I also wanted to go to Villanova, and really liked everything about Villanova.

“It did make a lot of things easier. I could go into the July live period and not worry about playing for a scholarship. You had to perform for these schools, and that was a big stressor. Now, I could go into my senior year of high school playing to win, and play for my team.”

Villanova women finished in a three-way, third-place tie in the Big East at 11-7 and 22-13 overall, reaching the inaugural WBIT championship, where the Wildcats lost to Illinois, 71-57.

The Wildcats’ postseason success took a big hit this offseason when leading scorer Lucy Olsen, the 5-9 junior guard out of Spring-Ford who was third in the country in scoring (23.3 ppg), transferred to national runner-up Iowa in April.

“I know I’m heading to a great place at Villanova, and I know my mom will get to watch me play,” Henry said. “I can enjoy my senior year at Westtown.”


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