Summer Spotlight: Richard Hendrix
After being ranked as high as #5 in the polls early last season, the Alabama Crimson Tide stumbled to a 20-12 record, missed the NCAA Tournament and bowed out in the first round of the NIT to UMass.
The club lost PF Jermareo Davidson (36th overall pick in the NBA Draft), but returns it's other four starters, including leading scorer Richard Hendrix. Hendrix, a former McDonald’s All-American out of Athens, AL, averaged 14.6 points and 8.7 rebounds in his sophomore year with the Tide.
Hendrix was considered to be a possible draft pick coming out of high school, but he decided to honor his commitment to Alabama and play college ball. After his breakout sophomore campaign, Hendrix had another decision to make. He would have likely been selected in the 2007 NBA Draft, but the burly power forward ultimately decided to come back to school with a few factors in mind.
Hendrix acknowledges that part of his decision was based on the fact that he loves his teammates and campus life, but also admitted that he feels ‘Bama has some unfinished business to take care of.
With a drive to turn around the misfortune of last season running deep in Hendrix’s blood, here is a sample of what the 6’8’’ 267 lb interior force does to improve his game in the offseason:
7:30 AM- Wake Up
I wake up about a half hour before my first class of the day. Usually I grab a Nutri-Grain bar with a CapriSun or something quick to eat before I head out to the classroom.
8 AM- Class
During the summer semester, my 8 AM class was Southern Politics. I maintained a B average in the class.
10 AM- Class
My second class of the summer semester was Geology, which went until about 11 AM three days a week.
12 PM- Lunch
After class, I usually go to one of the on-campus cafeteria’s for my lunch. I like to eat a lot of southern style food that the cafeteria makes. I rarely ever get fast food, and if I do..it’s usually Qdoba..a Mexican style grill that has fresh tacos and other healthier options.
12:30 PM- Lifting
I’m in the weight room with my strength coach Terry Jones everyday at 12:30. Terry is trying to get me to be quicker and stronger at the same time..so I perform a lot of explosive lifts such as cleans and snatches. The whole goal is for me to build lean muscle, so Terry also has me doing some cardio runs after I lift. When I’m done with that, there will usually be a piece of fruit to eat in the weight room and then I’ll head onto the court to do some individual post-work.
2 PM- Post Work
I get on the court with former Alabama F Erwin Dudley..who now plays for Turk Telekom Bk (Turkey), and was named Turkish Center of the Year last season. Dudley and I really go at it in the post and I can take a lot away from playing with him because he’s been in my shoes and he knows what it takes to succeed at the collegiate and professional level. When I’m going against him..I really focus on my low-post moves and my technique.
4:30 PM- Pick-Up
The pick-up games currently consist of most of our current team and a few former players such as Dudley and Rod Grizzard. Both those guys play overseas and playing with professional players, regardless of where they play, really shows you what it takes to make it at the next level. Dudley is just so strong and quick. He sometimes looks like a man amongst boys when he plays with us, but that is good because it gives us all something to shoot for. When we match-up in the pick-up games, I know I have to bring a ton of intensity but also play with smarts in order to compete. As far as the rest of our team is concerned, there have been a bunch of other guys that are stepping up during the pick-up sessions. Senior SG Mykal Riley has really been shooting the ball well and alot of our freshmen have done well this summer. Overall, everyone is taking their game to a new level and we're really looking forward to next season.
6:30- Wrap Up
The games usually last around two hours, and after that I hit the showers and head to dinner. Usually I go to the cafeteria for dinner as well.
7:30- Chill with my teammates
After dinner, I have time to sit around, watch TV, and just do alot of laughing with my teammates and friends. It's great to just unwind at the end of a long day of work.
Hendrix's Thoughts: If I had to say anything about next season, it's that Ronald Steele will bounce back (his 2006-2007 was limited by knee tendonitis and ankle sprains). There's a reason why Ronald was considered to be the best point guard in the country prior to last season. Right now he's doing some rehab and trying to get back to 100%, and if he does, I feel very bad for anyone who has to match up against Ron next season. He's going to be a beast. From the team perspective, we always have high expectations here in Tuscaloosa. Our goals are the same every year. We want to win the SEC Championship and then win the National Championship, and I think that if you don't truly believe that, than your head isn't in the right place.
Team Preview: The expectations placed on Mark Gottfried and his Tide last season may have been a bit much. Though Bama was talented, they were still a very young team, and that showed as they fell off at the end of the year and finished with just a 7-9 record in the SEC. The team loses only one senior (Jermareo Davidson) and returns three potential NBA draftees (Hendrix, Ronald Steele, and Junior G/F Alonzo Gee) along with a host of talented underclassmen who have put their first year behind them. Junior PG Brandon Hollinger also figures to play a significant role, especially if Ronald Steele is not ready to play right away. The team also added two four-star freshman guards to the mix when they signed Rico Pickett and Senario Hillman. Justin Knox, a 6'9'' 215 lb forward, rounds out Bama's recruiting class for 2007. Overall, this may be the deepest and most talented team that Gottfried has ever coached. Expectations will be very high in Tuscaloosa this fall, and Hendrix and Co. seemed poised to exceed them.