Five-Star Basketball Prospect Commits to Tide

One of the nation's hottest basketball prospects, Athens, Alabama's Richard Hendrix, announced his commitment to the University of Alabama on Tuesday at a news conference at Athens High School.

"Last week it hit me and I decided to make my commitment to the University of Alabama," Richard Hendrix said.

Hendrix is a five-star power forward who averaged 22 and 13 rebounds per game and totaled 189 blocked shots for Athens in the 2003-2004 season. Hendrix had narrowed his choices to Alabama or North Carolina before Tuesday's commitment.

"It is a relief," Hendrix said. "As for right now I just want to move on and concentrate on basketball with my Athens Golden Eagle team and have fun with my teammates and friends. Hopefully we can get down to Birmingham and win a state championship."

"I think Coach Gottfried has a lot of great talent coming in with my recruiting class," he said. "I think with the talent he already has with Ron Steele and a couple of other guys he really has put together a team for the future that can really make some noise in the NCAA."

Hendrix could still opt for entering the National Basketball Association amateur draft next spring. His father and high school coach, Venard Hendrix, has said that if there's enough interest from the NBA that Hendrix would at least pursue the possibility, but that decision will come down the road.

"I decided that I wanted to commit to a college first," Richard Hendrix said. "If the NBA actually comes in and plays into then we'll move on to it then but as for right now I'm just looking forward to college. If it comes to the point where the NBA shows a little interest then we'll look into it then and move on from there."

Hendrix said in-state ties and helping take Alabama's basketball program to the next level were the deciding factors in his decision.

"I think it came down to the point that I wanted to be part of traditions and making history at a school where basketball is traditionally not the number one program there," he said.

Hendrix said that Alabama's run to the "Elite-8" last year "more so solidified for (Gottfried's) program that they can compete with some of the premier programs in the nation and be one of the better squads out there."

**Interview conducted by Matt Perrault of 730 AM "The Ump" radio station in Huntsville, Ala.

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