Aaron Henry was once one of college basketball's best-kept secrets. Two years ago, when he stepped unwillingly into the spotlight and content factory after being screamed at by Tom Izzo, the 6-foot-6 swingman was portrayed as this doe-eyed shrinking violet who needed to be protected from cruel and unusual motivational tactics. But that white-knighting was always misguided, driven by those who see the tip of an iceberg and think they can map the entirety of the underlying ocean.
When Henry speaks, it's not with a booming bass that rattles windows. Instead his self-assuredness drips through with the confident and measured tone of a player who has always been mature beyond his years and destined for bigger things than most realized.
Then a freshman, the lefty from Indianapolis responded to that viral incident by scoring nine points and grabbing nine rebounds in a game against Minnesota in the second round. In the Sweet 16, he exploded for a then career-high against LSU, pouring in 20 points to go with eight boards and six assists. He provided lockdown defense against Duke and was one of the few competent weapons in a Final Four loss to Texas Tech.