Hendrix Is Working

Richard Hendrix said he hasn't lost any weight, but the 6-9, 260-pound Alabama junior forward has certainly relocated some of it in preparation for Pan-Am Games tryouts beginning on Thursday.

"I think he's gotten into great shape," Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried said Tuesday. "He's made a great effort to lose weight without losing any of his strength or speed."

Gottfried credits Hendrix as well as strength and conditioning coach Terry Jones, who works with basketball players year round. Gottfried said Jones had done great work in helping Hendrix change his body, as well as Alonzo Gee, who will also be trying out for the team.

"I think the guys have done a terrific job working with Terry Jones," Gottfried said.

Hendrix said he's in better shape but doesn't think he's lost pounds.

"Maybe I've grown," he said. "I've been here pretty much every day for the whole summer. I don't plan on making any changes to my game. I've just got to get better.

Hendrix leaves Thursday for tryouts in Philadelphia along with Gee. Gottfried is an assistant coach on the American team for the Pan-Am Games. The field of players will be cut from 32 to 16 over the weekend, and then from 16 to 12 the following week.

"When the invitation came to Coach's office to let me know I could try out to make the team it was great," Hendrix said. "But this is just a beginning. There will be a lot of talent there, especially in the post."

A separate committee, not the coaching staff, will select the team. Gottfried said he made it clear to his two tryout participants that they will either make it or not based on their own merits and how they perform over the weekend.

Hendrix has had pretty good competition this summer for a tune-up, playing with former Alabama player and now an MVP in European league basketball Erwin Dudley, who has been working out in Tuscaloosa.

"I've played with Erwin Dudley several times," Hendrix said. "The thing about his game is his strength is on a whole other level. A lot of people say that about me - that I'm country strong - but he must be from farther out in the country than I am."

Hendrix hopes the international experience he and his teammates could gain will help in the upcoming season. Teammates Mikhail Torrance and Demetrius Jemison spent time playing in China earlier in the summer, and Hendrix sees improved confidence in them from the experience.

"I've seen the difference in them coming back," he said. "They have moves they didn't have and their confidence is higher, so hopefully I can take that same track and we can get this thing rolling for next season."

Hendrix has also had court time this summer with Alabama's three newcomers, Rico Pickett, Justin Knox and Senario Hillman. Hendrix didn't single any of the new players out, but said they are all "raw" with "great athleticism." Hendrix plans on handing out a few pointers to the new guys, but said he will save some of his tricks for himself.

As for the Pan-Am Games, if he's fortunate enough to make the team, Hendrix said it would be a learning experience, "and as well as learning, I plan to do a little teaching, too."

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