The Sunday morning game between the Alabama Lasers and the St. Louis Eagles was supposed to feature one of the premier head-to-head battles that the club circuit has to offer. Unfortunately, the Richard Hendrix versus Tyler Hansbrough showdown never happened as the six-foot-nine Hansbrough was forced to sit out after being ejected from his previous game.
The letdown didn't last for very long as the Lasers and Eagles ended up playing a thrilling double overtime game. In the end, the six-foot-eight Hendrix was too much for the Eagles as he scored 23 points in the Lasers 70-66 victory.
After the game, Hendrix knew that he and his teammates were lucky to escape with the victory.
"We had to work harder than we would have liked to without Hansbrough in there," Hendrix told Inside Carolina. "I think we thought that it would be a cake walk without him in there and they nearly got us."
With Ashton Farmer, a rugged and undersized power forward, hanging all over him and getting physical on both ends Hendrix's points didn't come easy. He hit on a couple of short jumpers, had several explosive dunks and also threw in a couple of jump hooks. Hendrix did struggle some at the free throw line though where he only made five of nine shots.
He was also a bit disappointed that he didn't get to test himself against Hansbrough.
"I was looking forward to it, and kind of got lax when I found out he wasn't playing. Hopefully there will be a chance for it to happen down the road."
There are a couple of things that really set Hendrix apart from most of his peers. First are his incredible hands. He has gigantic and soft mitts that allow him to catch just about anything thrown his way. Even if he can't catch the ball right away he has an uncanny ability to pop the ball up in the air and kind of play volleyball until he can secure the rock.
You also have to appreciate his basketball IQ. Hendrix understands how to use his width to seal defenders and pin them as he turns for easy scores. Now that he has greatly improved his physique and gotten much more explosive Hendrix is pretty much a complete player.
According to Hendrix, he is going to focus on his game and upcoming stops at events like USA Basketball and Nike camp. After that, he'll get to work on choosing between Alabama and North Carolina. For the most part though, he wasn't offering up any info on where he may be leaning.
"At this time, I'm just trying to keep my mind clear and just get better as a player," said Hendrix. "I'll make a decision sometime before next basketball season once I can sit down and get my mind cleared."
HANSBROUGH DISSAPOINTED BY MISSING SATURDAY GAME
Even though he bounced back from his one game suspension to rip apart the Tennessee Travelers for 24 points and at least 15 rebounds, Tyler Hansbrough couldn't help but be upset about Saturday's technical foul incident.
"Honestly, it kind of hurts me emotionally and makes me feel bad," said Hansbrough. "It's embarrassing to get thrown out of the game. It's not like I'm a thug or something and I really thought there was somebody under me when I got called for hanging."
The six-foot-nine forward was also upset about missing the opportunity to go head to head with Richard Hendrix.
"It was tough because I wanted to be out there and play because it was a hyped match up between me and Richard," said Hansbrough. "I'm sure there were a lot of people who were disappointed. Maybe we'll play down the road."
Hansbrough also commented that he was impressed with what Hendrix brought for the table. As for a school choice, he did admit that he'll probably decide sometime in the next month, or maybe a little sooner. However, he isn't giving any hints where he is leaning at this point other than to say that there are good odds he'll be wearing blue.
OTHER CAROLINA INTERESTS ON SUNDAY
One player that North Carolina fans may want to start tracking is Alex Tyus because he certainly has his eyes on the Heels. The six-foot-seven (maybe even six-foot-eight) Tyus is a member of the class of 2006 and put together the best effort of his young career during the St. Louis Eagles loss to the Alabama Lasers. Tyus used his long and athletic body all over the place scoring 20 points and providing lots of help on the boards. The Florissant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central product oozes talent and has the potential to be a star some day if he is willing to play hard on a consistent basis.
Chris Douglass-Roberts was doing his thing again on Sunday as he led The Family into the final four (where they will face Memphis YOMCA) destroying Louis Williams and the white hot Georgia Stars in the quarterfinals. CDR was good for 28 against the Stars and the 6-5 PG could be the best PG prospect in the land. It's a shame that the shoe companies have caused such a split because it would be interesting to see how he matches up with guys like Mario Chalmers or Bobby Frasor who have been more highly regarded by some.
Jon Brockman and Seattle Friends of Hoop have also kept on rolling as they moved into Monday's semifinals. They'll face the always tough New York Gauchos and you can bet that the ultra aggressive Brockman will be looking to bring the pain as usual. It is really remarkable how somebody so burly and strong can be so quick up and down the court and explosive off the ground. He is laying a strong foundation on which to build up his case to be a Mickey D's kid next spring.
C.J. Miles and Kevin Rogers fell victim to Friends of Hoop in the round of 16 Saturday afternoon. Miles was fantastic scoring 14 first half points on an array of jumpers and dribble drives with recent Kansas commitment Micah Downs hanging all over him. Rogers had a rough go of it though and struggled to find any rhythm against Brockman. They confirmed that they are seriously considering heading somewhere together but weren't specific about any particular leans.