Former Knight Hendrix excelling for MACU

Published 7:33 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2018

ELIZABETH CITY — Tyler Hendrix said he had been going through a bit of a slump going into Saturday’s game against Appalachian Bible College. It didn’t look like it as the former five-year Terra Ceia standout erupted early in the second half to help guide Mid-Atlantic Christian University to a 103-50 win.

The Mustang freshman hit a trio of 3-pointers within the first 4:40 of the second half. MACU, in general, was barraging the visitors from long range. Hendrix and company were 12-of-25 from long range in the game. The former Knight put the exclamation point on the surge when he drove the baseline and slammed a one-handed dunk.

“It felt pretty good. I’ve been in a big slump,” Hendrix said. “I finally starting hitting and finally shot my way out of it.”

Hendrix had 11 of his 17 points in the second half, despite not playing many minutes after the win was essentially secured.

Getting Hendrix out of that slump was a welcomed sight for head coach Allan Harris. He knows that, even as a freshman, Hendrix is a valuable component to the team.

“Tyler brings a wealth of experience. He can play the guard positions. He can play the post. He’s a rebounder. He can knock down shots from outside,” Harris said. “His ability is incredible for us to have him.”

So far, Hendrix’s foray into college basketball has been a fruitful one. His transition from high school to college life has been about as seamless as can be expected.

“I’ve got a lot of friends here,” he said. “I had them before I came. That helped me adjust to the life. They showed me around. The city is pretty good. All the food is pretty much in one place. Not much trouble.”

Likely the biggest adjustment was getting used to a new team. Hendrix was a five-year varsity basketball player at Terra Ceia. He had played with the likes of Quentin VanEssendelft and Austin Roscoe, among others, for the overwhelming majority of his prep career.

“Coming here and trying to gel with a bunch of freshman is kind of tough, but we’re fighting through it,” he said. “We’re getting there. You’ve got to try to gel with people from all over the United States.”

Harris added: “Basketball is a gateway for them to grow spiritually at the same time, as well. We’re a brotherhood here. There’s some things that you’re going to go through that will help you outside of basketball once the ball stops bouncing.”

Tyler Hendrix jacks up one of his four made 3s Saturday against Appalachian Bible College.

Hendrix added that he likes the freedom that comes with college life. He’s much more able to make his own schedule when it comes to extra practice in the gym or with classes.

One of his closest friends on the team is center Dixon Ogwo. Hendrix said that Ogwo, a 6-foot-8 senior from Nigeria, took him under his wing.

“He took me in and worked out with me and got me right for the season,” Hendrix said. “Ever since we played the first pick-up game before the season started, we just clicked.”

So far, basketball season has taken Hendrix across North Carolina and as far as Michigan and Kentucky. That presented the Plymouth native with a chance to get out of his comfort zone.

“I’m not really a traveling guy. That’s not my fun part. Home is the best place,” he said. “It’s a fun experience making memories on, like, those big Michigan trips. It’s fun making memories like that.”

MACU is on an eight-day layoff before it heads up the street to Elizabeth State on Tuesday. The Mustangs are 5-12 on the season and 2-2 in their conference. They have eight games in February, which provides them a chance to build some momentum down the stretch.

Off the court, Hendrix is in his second semester of classes. He’s working toward a degree in business administration.