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Early riser Hendrix set for senior year

After serving as a sixth man last year, senior Ian Hendrix is a starter at Holy Ghost Prep. PHOTO: DOUG BENEDICT

Ian Hendrix isn’t one for resting on his laurels.

In fact, he gives up a lot of rest to make himself the best he can be.

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Hendrix is a senior on the Holy Ghost Prep High School basketball team, and after spending a season as the sixth man, he’s now become a starter, swinging between shooting guard and small forward.

He earned the right to become one of the team’s top guys by working hard during his time in the program. But now that he’s officially a starter, he’s only working harder.

“I make it a definite thing to start off getting up every day at 6 a.m. to get shots up every day before school,” said Hendrix, who grew up in Rhawnhurst and recently moved to Somerton. “My assistant coach opens the gym, anyway, because he lifts, so I go up and shoot for an hour and a half, then I lift a little bit before school. It’s a great way to start the day. 

“I try to work out twice a day, I’m always going and moving. I’ll do my homework, spend time with family and talk to friends outside of school. But I’m very focused on basketball. I love working hard to get better in basketball. It’s very important.”

It’s working.

Hendrix isn’t just a talented scorer and a guy the Firebirds can count on to make plays on the court. He’s also one of the guys the team can turn to when they need advice, support or just about anything.

And it’s why legendary head coach Tony Chapman asked him to accept a huge role with the team. And Chapman, who has more than 900 wins to his credit, didn’t have to wait long for an answer.

“Over the summer me and my other teammate Seamus McDermott were at sleep-away camp at Alvernia and we were asked to come down to coach’s dorm room because he wanted to talk to us,” Hendrix recalled. “He asked us if we wanted to be co-captions. He said it’s a big responsibility if you’re not up to it, it won’t impact your playing time, but we feel you’re ready to lead, be the voice of the team, and try to build a great team culture. 

“I was ready. It was a huge honor. I love playing basketball here, I’ve learned so much from Coach Chapman, being on the team. It’s a great program. And I’ll be there for anyone on this team. On or off the court, I’m here for them.”

Chapman knows basketball, but he’s also known for having great leaders in the program. 

But his newest captain is also a great basketball player.

A tough defender and coach on the floor, this year Hendrix, along with McDermott and big man Mel Lindsey, will be the go-to scorers for the Firebirds. It’s a new role for Hendrix, particularly at the varsity level, but one he’s ready to take on.

It’s the reason he sets his alarm every morning and is out the door while most people are still sleeping. And because of those extra shots he puts up, he’s ready to emerge as one of the top options for the Firebirds.

“I’m one of the main scorers, me and Seamus, and our big man Mel Lindsey,” Hendrix said. “I’m looking to score a little more, but also do the other things, and also be a leader on floor.

“I always felt like being a leader, it came naturally to me, I always just tried to do the right thing and lead by example, so the transition wasn’t hard. It was more getting yelled at or pushing people to get better. Growing up I was an individualistic person, but to be successful playing high school basketball, you have to focus on the team and do what’s best for the team.”

He’s also excited about the future.

Hendrix isn’t just an athlete, he’s a scholar-athlete. He maintains a 4.25 grade point average in the classroom, was a member of student council and is a member of National Honor Society.

He’s being courted by a few schools to continue his career, and in choosing a major, he hopes to use his passion for basketball in his job after college.

“Next year I’m deciding between Jefferson and Alvernia, for basketball, but I’m going for a doctorate in physical therapy,” Hendrix said. “I always realized I wanted to do something in sports, when I’m done playing and get a real career. I didn’t know until this summer. Dealing with athletes and helping them rehab and get back to full strength, I wanted to help. It’s something I’m really interested in.”

Hendrix has worked himself into a great player, and he’s happy to have great support in his corner. 

“My family is very supportive, my mom is my biggest role model. She’s always been there, picks me up, pushes me to be my very best,” Hendrix said. “She went to Chestnut Hill to get a teaching degree in education. I also have a very supportive stepdad and brother. My brother is 11. He’s playing a bunch of sports, finished football, basketball and baseball. 

“My life is playing a basketball, I learn so many life lessons from playing basketball. I’m a diehard Northeast Philly guy. I go to school in Bensalem, I miss Rhawnhurst a lot, but I love Somerton, too. I think I got my toughness from living in Rhawnhurst for 10-plus years.”

He’ll use all that toughness as well as basketball and leadership skills this year. And he hopes it leads to great things.

“We have a very versatile team,” he said. “I’m pushing myself, to be a good captain, it’s more of a mental transition. You’re responsible for more things on the court, Coach Chapman is one of the best coaches in the Pennsylvania area, and he put a lot of trust and responsibility on me this summer and leading up until now. I’m excited for the season.”

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