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WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2007
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Hendrix sees tryout as opportunity to travel
Athens product working for spot on Pan Am team

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

At a gathering with reporters before the Pan Am games tryouts in Philadelphia, Alabama coach and Team USA assistant Mark Gottfried had a prediction about Athens High grad Richard Hendrix.

“That guy is going to be the governor right there,” Gottfried joked.

Hendrix could be getting his first chance in diplomacy as the tryouts for the United States roster in the Pan Am games start Thursday and run through Sunday at Haverford College near Philadelphia.

The 6-foot-8 Hendrix, a rising Alabama junior, will be pitted against 32 of the country’s top collegiate basketball players, vying for 12 roster spots.

A second-team all-SEC selection last year, Hendrix averaged 14.6 points and 8.7 rebounds.

If Hendrix makes the team, he will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from July 25-29, playing professionals from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Panama, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“I’m looking at this trial as a chance to make the team and give myself the opportunity to travel,” Hendrix said.

“(Basketball) is a great part of my life. It has opened up so many doors for me at a young age. It has taken me to many parts of the country and maybe many parts of the world.”

Tide forward Alonzo Gee (12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds last season) also was selected to try out.

So were fellow Southeastern Conference players Chris Lofton of Tennessee, Tasmin Mitchell of LSU and Shan Foster of Vanderbilt.

In order to get ready to go against the level of competition, Hendrix worked out against one of the best players in the NBA.

He was a counselor at Phoenix Suns forward Amaré Stoudemire’s basketball camp in Arizona from June 25-28.

While Hendrix refused say whether Stoudemire dunked on him or vice versa, he said the camp gave him a first-hand glimpse at the NBA skill level.

“(Stoudemire) is on a whole different level. You see how he is an all-NBA player,” Hendrix said. “He has so much athleticism. He is so quick and so fast.”

Will having his college coach as an assistant help Hendrix’ chances on making the team and going to Brazil?

According to Gottfried, he has some say in roster selections. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is the head of the USA Basketball men’s collegiate committee.

Boeheim will make most of the decisions for the roster, but ultimately it will be up to Hendrix to make the team.

“(People) are just telling me to work hard, make the team and represent well,” Hendrix
said. “I’m playing for my hometown, school, state and everybody who is associated with myself.”

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