News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Hendrix trying out for Pan-Am games
Athens High grad one of 2 Tide players attempting to make American team

By Josh Cooper 340-2460

A mostly slow offseason for the Alabama basketball team picked up a little bit Monday.

Athens High graduate Richard Hendrix and Tide forward Alonzo Gee were invited to try out for the Pan American Games for the United States.

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried was named an assistant coach for the American squad May 24.

The trials will be at Haverford College in Haverford, Pa., from July 12-14. The basketball portion of the Pan Am Games will run from July 25-29 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Among the 30 players invited, 12 will be selected. Villanova's Jay Wright will be the team's head coach.

"I hope we both make the team," Hendrix said. "It's an honor to be invited, and I hope we will show that we are ready to play on this international level."

Hendrix, a 6-foot-8 forward, averaged 14.6 points and 8.7 rebound per game for the Tide as a sophomore this past year.

A 6-foot-6 junior from Palm Beach, Fla., Gee, averaged 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this past year.

LSU's Tasmin Mitchell, Vanderbilt's Shan Foster and Tennessee's Chris Lofton are the other SEC players invited. Indiana's D.J. White, a 6-foot-9 junior forward from Tuscaloosa, is another state player invited.

Also, the Tide announced the promotion of Kobie Baker from director of basketball operations to assistant coach, while hiring Western Michigan assistant Jeff Dunlap to fill Baker's old role.

Baker fills the void left by Tom Asbury, who retired from coaching April 4 citing personal reasons. Asbury's wife has cancer. Monday's announcements complete Gottfried's coaching staff for the 2007-08 season.

Baker has been an assistant coach at North Texas, Troy, Nicholls State and Southeastern Louisiana.

He was an assistant coach at Troy in 2002 when the team won the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship.

He left Troy to become the recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at Nicholls State and spent 2005 and 2006 as an assistant at North Texas.

"I'm excited for Kobie," Gottfried said.

"He's earned the right to have this promotion. He's done a very good job. He's very familiar with our program having been involved in the past. He brings an energy and great recruiting abilities to our staff, and he has a great future in this profession."

Dunlap graduated from UCLA in 1986. His coaching stops include Georgia from 1999-2003, Loyola and Cal State-Fullerton, all as an assistant.

Gottfried also said the roles of assistant coaches Philip Pearson and James Holland will expand.

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