USA: Richard Hendrix

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The trip to Colorado Springs this week for Richard Hendrix was special for two reasons. One, he gets to participate in the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival, and two, this was his first time on an airplane.

"It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be," said the class of 2005 star. "My AAU team, our president doesn't like to fly a lot. He says he's like John Madden – we always ride on busses."

The easy assumption, then, is that Hendrix must be a homebody who plans to play within driving range of his Athens, Ala. home.

But that's not the case.

"Now that I've flown, I don't have a problem with flying and I plan on doing a lot more of it in the future," he said.

And with trips to big-time camps and elite college campuses on the horizon, he'll become a regular in the skies.

Five schools currently comprise his school list.

"Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Miss. State," Hendrix said. "These schools have shown a lot of interest and they seem like good programs. I like how they run things."

The new staff in Chapel Hill has let him know that the interest is mutual.

"They sent a package with a Roy Williams signed letter," he said. "It tells you their interest in you and tells a little about their program."

Hendrix, a 6-8, 245-pound post player, thrives because he knows his bread and butter. The strong rising junior is at home in the paint.

"I like to get all the rebounds and bang it in there," he said.

And he's successful at it even at this level.

"One of the things that makes him such a big time prospect is the way he's able to carve out his own space in the paint and go to work," analyst Dave Telep explained. "He's not a flashy guy – he's a strong, inside player who pretty much sticks to what he's good at. He's got wide shoulders, a wide frame, very strong for his age so he rebounds well. And he doesn't go out and shoot three pointers – just maybe sticks a mid-range jumper now and then."

Here at the USA Basketball event, he had a solid first game Friday afternoon, totaling 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, but only saw limited playing time in the evening session.

It's been a learning experience for Hendrix, who said he realizes his ball handling and range on his jumpshot are what require improvement.

"Playing here you learn what you have to go back home and work on," he said. "It motivates you."

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Check out IC's Richard Hendrix profile.


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