Hendrix Says Pan Am Games Trials Going Well So Far

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
TUSCALOOSA – University of Alabama forwards Richard Hendrix and Alonzo Gee, both of whom will be juniors this fall, are among 32 of the nation’s top collegians in Philadelphia hoping for a spot on the USA Basketball Men’s Pan American Games team.  Hendrix and Gee joined their Crimson Tide coach, Mark Gottfried, in Philadelphia on Thursday for the Trials which began with the first practice Thursday evening. Gottfried is an assistant coach for the USA Team. Their schedule includes two a-day-practices on Friday and Saturday. Sixteen finalists will be named on Sunday morning, July 15. The Trials practices are being held at Haverford College. Team training will begin immediately for the 16 finalists on Sunday morning. The finalists will have two-a-day practices on July 15, 16, 17, and 18 in Philadelphia. The final cuts will be made to reduce the team to 12 members. Team training will be in Washington, D.C., at the Verizon Center on July 19, 20 and 21st. The Pan Am Games Basketball competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is July 25-29. “The first couple of practices have been pretty good for me,” said Hendrix by phone from Philadelphia on Friday afternoon in between practice sessions, “but the competition is very tough. All 32 players here are so close together in talent that it seems like no one really stands out. Everyone looks good. So it’s been a good experience so far because it’s helping all of us elevate our play. It’s a good experience and I just hope for the best.” Hendrix is a two-time All-Southeastern Conference player for the Tide. Gee was Freshman All-SEC in 2006. The two are competing for spots with a Pan Am Games Trials field that includes 17 players with prior USA Basketball experience. Thirteen were all-conference 1st team collegiate players and two others were 2nd team all-conference players in their various leagues this past season. Nine more are honorable mention all-conference. Fifteen of the participants will be seniors in 2007-08, twelve will be juniors and five will be sophomores. Hendrix says his Tide teammate, Gee, is among those who look impressive at the Trials. “He’s playing well, too,” said Hendrix. “It’s just one of those things, like I said, where everyone seems to be playing so even that it’s going to be a tough decision. It’s going to be a very tough decision for the coaches when they are making the cuts, the competition and the talent is that good, it’s that even. We’re all hoping for the best. We both want to make the team and we’re both trying hard and working hard to make that happen, but, regardless of what does happen in the end, it’s going to be a good experience for us, for all 32 of these players. We’re all going to leave here better players, I think.”