Richard Hendrix
Class of 2024

Richard Hendrix

Richard Hendrix was groomed for basketball stardom at an early age. The son of two educators, Hendrix’s father Venard was an assistant basketball coach at Athens High School and the younger Hendrix was around the Golden Eagles program from an early age. “My dad was a really good player at Athens College and he led the NAIA one year in blocked shots. We spent a lot of time in the backyard honing my basketball skills. Plus, with him coaching at Athens High School, I was around the program as far back as I can remember. I served as a towel boy during games. I helped with rebounding drills during practice. I can remember those long bus rides. Being around that environment at an early age and the God given ability I was blessed with, laid the foundation for the basketball player I became,” said the 2024 Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

What a basketball player he was. As a four-year starter in the Athens High School program, he would lead the Golden Eagles to back to back appearances in the Final Four of the state playoffs. He was a four-time All-State selection, Alabama 5A Player of the year, two-time Parade All-American and would score 2,915 career points. He currently holds the Alabama high school record for most rebounds (1,820) and blocked shots (667) in a career. He was named Alabama Mr. Basketball following his senior season in 2005 and was chosen to play in the McDonald’s High School All-American game and the Jordan Classic. Hendrix said it was a magical time for Athens High School sports when he played for the Golden Eagles. “My dad became the head basketball coach my sophomore year and that was a blessing to be able to play for him. Plus, our football team was really good. Our girls’ basketball team was a state powerhouse. The one thing I am most proud of playing at Athens High was my teammates and I grew up together. We cultivated a strong bond early on in our lives and we wanted to make the people in our community proud of the success we had on the basketball court. I wish we could have brought home the state championship banner.

We got close. We made the Final Four twice and were state runner-up my junior year,” said Hendrix. Generally regarded as one of the Top 20 players in the nation, Hendrix was heavily recruited and where he was going to attend college came down to the University of Alabama and the University of North Carolina. “I really liked Roy Williams at North Carolina.

It was hard to tell him no but I had two sisters who graduated from Alabama and the basketball program at Alabama was on the rise.

They had some really good players already there and my recruiting class was strong. I made the decision to attend Alabama with the hope of helping lead the program to the first Final Four in school history,” said Hendrix.

The transition to major college basketball wasn’t that difficult for the 6’8 Hendrix as he became a starter for the Crimson Tide during his freshmen season. In fact, Hendrix would start all three years for Alabama averaging 14.0 point per game and 9.0 rebounds per game. He was named to the All-SEC Second Team in 2007 and was a first team All-SEC selection the following season. “We won several big games while I was at Alabama. We didn’t have the success I hoped for but I enjoyed the campus and student life. I think my proudest moment during my time there was that I became one of the first University of Alabama student-athletes to graduate in three years,” said Hendrix.

Hendrix’s former Alabama teammate Ronald Steele says that Hendrix was his favorite teammate with the Crimson Tide. “Richard was very unselfish. He would do whatever needed for us to be successful. When you combine Richard’s talent, intellect and character, he was tough to handle. Richard was so consistent. When you looked at the stat sheet after a game and saw 20 points and 10 rebounds, after a while, you just took it as the norm for Richard, “said Steele.

College degree in hand, Hendrix decided to declare for the NBA draft following his junior season at Alabama. He achieved a lifelong dream as he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 49th pick in the 2008 NBA draft. Hendrix made the final roster with the Warriors but was assigned to the D-League when some of his Warriors teammates returned from injuries. He would lead the D-League in rebounding during the 2008-09 season.

He would then take his basketball talents overseas as he played in seven countries and was recognized as being one of the top big men in Europe before retiring from basketball in 2021. “To the average basketball fan, they don’t realize how good basketball is played in Europe. There are some really talented basketball players. I was fortunate to play 10 seasons in the Euro league and Euro Cup level, the highest tier of competition in European League basketball. We won eight championships including the 2013 Euro Cup championship and I was named Most Valuable Player in the finals. I had a great experience playing overseas. It taught me some life lessons. Those were the formative years of my life and it made me appreciate what we have here at home,” said Hendrix.

Hendrix will be inducted in the LCSHOF on June 8 following his father who is a member of the 2022 LCSHOF class. “The honor means a lot to me,” said Hendrix. “Having been raised in Athens and Limestone county, I am proud to say I am from Athens. When I meet someone for the first time and they ask me where I am from, I don’t hesitate saying I am from Athens, Alabama. The people who I was around growing up had a positive influence on my life. My parents and family, my teachers, my coaches and my church members helped shape who I am.”