MSU forward Aaron Henry declares for 2021 NBA Draft

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Aaron Henry skies for a layup in the Spartans’ 71-67 win over No. 4 Ohio State/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Carter Landis, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING— Michigan State forward Aaron Henry has declared for the 2021 NBA Draft, the junior posted on his Instagram Monday afternoon. Henry will sign with an agent and forego his senior season.

Henry averaged 10.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game in his three years playing for Tom Izzo. He is currently viewed as a late first-round to early second-round draft pick due to his strong defense and ability to score at the basket.

Henry declared for the 2020 NBA Draft after his sophomore season last year but did not sign with an agent and decided to return to Michigan State for his junior season. After leading the Spartans to their 23rd straight NCAA Tournament appearance, he saw his draft stock rise.

Henry, who played for Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, committed to the Spartans in September of 2017 over Butler and Indiana and was ranked as the No. 140 overall prospect in the nation, according to 247Sports.com. He was part of a five-man recruiting class that also included four-stars Marcus Bingham Jr., Foster Loyer, Gabe Brown, and fellow three-star Thomas Kithier.

He broke out in 2019 as a freshman in the Spartans’ Sweet Sixteen game against LSU, scoring 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, with eight rebounds and six assists. Henry was a consistent contributor for the Spartans that season, filling in for the injured Joshua Langford.

In his junior season, Henry led the Spartans in scoring with 15.4 points per game while also recording 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game and becoming the de facto facilitator for an MSU bunch that lacked a true point guard. He was named to the All-Big Ten Third Team as well as the Big Ten All-Defensive Team.

Henry’s departure leaves a huge hole for Tom Izzo to fill, not only in scoring, but also in leadership, defense, and a playmaking wing. Gabe Brown is expected to play most of the minutes at the small forward position next season in place of Henry, with four-star incoming freshman Pierre Brooks Jr. expected to be the backup and play significant minutes.