Richard Hendrix Makes it Official

Richard Hendrix dragged his recruitment out for a while, but it wasn't for the attention or anything like that. He wanted to be 100 percent certain of his decision - and that finally happened on Tuesday afternoon at a news conference.

Richard Hendrix decided he didn't need to leave Alabama after all.

The Athens High (Ala.) 6-8, 245-pound senior power forward announced he will stay home and play for Mark Gottfried and the Crimson Tide at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

``It's been a long process, but I decided to make my commitment to the University of Alabama," Hendrix said at the news conference.

Hendrix, who had narrowed his choices to two months ago, also considered North Carolina. He told that he came to a decision about 10 days ago.

``The biggest thing was the fact that the Alabama program is headed in the right direction," Hendrix said after the news conference. "I wanted to be a part of it. They have a lot of good recruits coming in and they are a step away from being a powerhouse."

``It wasn't easy for him," Alabama Lasers coach William "Wig" Pearson said. "I know he liked both coaching staffs, but it came down to his friends and family being able to see him play. That had a lot to do with it."

Hendrix (No. 8, is a relentless inside presence who scores in the paint and controls both ends of the glass. He's strong, powerful and has terrific footwork and an attitude to match. He averaged 22.4 points and 13.6 boards per game last season and led Athens High to a 33-3 record and an appearance in the Class 5A state title game.

``We've had 56 kids play college basketball and he's the best we've ever had," Alabama Lasers coach William "Wig" Pearson said. "He's better than Rod Grizzard, better than Erwin Dudley and better than Marvin Stone."

``Nobody is even close," added Pearson. "He's a special kid and is so skilled for his size. He's a great leader and also does things to get his teammates involved." Hendrix has 2,078 points, 1,289 rebounds and 467 blocks in his career.

``I had days when I was high on North Carolina and others when I was high on Alabama," Hendrix said. "I was wavering, but this is where I decided I want to be."

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