Hendrix Returns From The Triangle

One of the nation's top 20 prospects spent the weekend visiting the three big time ACC schools in the research triangle. Upon returning to his Alabama home, he had a chance to speak with StateFans columnist Jeff Goodman. Read on for the full story.

Richard Hendrix got his first look at The Triangle this past weekend and one school came out as the big winner.

After cramming in visits to North Carolina and N.C. State on his 17th birthday, the 6-8, 250-pound Athens High (Ala.) junior power forward has elevated the Tar Heels to the same level as the home-state Crimson Tide.

"I would say Carolina is up there right with Alabama," Hendrix said. "It was just a real home-type environment. Coach (Roy) Williams and Coach (Joe) Halladay made me feel at home. They made me feel at home at Duke and N.C. State also, but UNC just felt different."

Both UNC and N.C. State put forth scholarship offers, according to Hendrix, while Duke told him they needed to evaluate him more before making that decision.

"I enjoyed the whole trip," Hendrix said. "I learned a lot of stuff that I didn't know before the visit."

Hendrix, his parents, and his neighbor, a lifelong North Carolina fan, made the trip as well. They flew into Raleigh on Friday night and got a good night sleep before the big day on Saturday.

It started with Duke in the morning, where Hendrix met with the staff, got a tour of the facilities and then left just before 11 a.m. when the team got onto the floor for practice.

Then it was off to Chapel Hill, where he got there just in time to catch the final 45 minutes of practice.

"They worked hard and I liked their intensity and style of play," Hendrix said. "I knew a good amount about their players from seeing them on TV. I was watching Sean May to see what sets him apart."

But that wasn't what set the Tar Heels apart.

"As soon as I walked in, the players came right over to me to talk to me," he said. "I talked to David Noel almost the whole practice because he was hurt."

"I was surprised that big-time players like that were coming over and greeting me," he added. After that, he went upstairs and ate with the coaches before taking a tour of the facilities. He also had a chance to meet former UNC coach Dean Smith.

Then he took off for the final leg to N.C. State and arrived at around 4 p.m., got a look at the locker room, the facilities and then watched the Wolfpack-FSU football game in which former Athens High star Philip Rivers is the quarterback. Rivers was Mr. Athens the same time that Hendrix' sister was Miss Athens.

"We did it all in one day," Hendrix said. "That's what it takes."

Now Hendrix will concentrate on his season, which gets underway on Tuesday night. There will be no more visits during the season, because Hendrix has prioritized winning a state title for he and his father/coach, Venard Hendrix.

"I am focusing solely on the season," Hendrix said. "That's what I want to do."

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