Fernando J. Fernandez Jr.
It's him against the world!
While sitting down with 6-5 freshman forward Chad Hendrick, it became clear he is a man on a mission.
"Ever since I was a little kid, everybody has been telling me that I was not going to be anything. I have been out to prove them wrong," says Hendrick.
No one gave him a chance to make his high school basketball team, so he proved them wrong by playing on his first ever basketball team as a freshman at Madison High School in Houston.
Although he was not supposed to play college ball, Hendrick started the first nine games for the University of Houston men's basketball team this year.
Nobody expects an athlete to be a biology major or have aspirations of becoming a doctor, but at the end of his career at UH Hendrick fully expects both a degree and an eventual job as a doctor.
He grew up in North Carolina where he lived with his grandmother, who had a strong influence in his religious upbringing.
She sends him passages from the Bible to help him in his everyday life and to help him cope with any problems he might be going through.
The summer before his freshman year he moved to Houston with his father.
During the his recruitment, his father played a major role in his decision to come to the University of Houston.
He was recruited by all the major schools in the Big XII conference and a couple of major schools like New Mexico and LSU.
He chose UH because it was close to home and it gave him the best opportunity available. He says it also helped that Houston had a great academic reputation.
He is taking his lessons here as a learning experience.
"The team is a young team, six freshmen and four sophomores, so it will take some time for us to get on the same page," Hendrick says.
He loves playing for coach Alvin Brooks, and says that Brooks is both the most demanding and most knowledgeable coach he has ever played for.
In this young year he has already learned more about the game of basketball than in the four years he played for his high school team.
He models his work ethic after his favorite player Michael Jordan.
"I don't like him because he is the best, but because of his drive to be the best and all the work he puts in to stay there," Hendrick says.
Hendrick added he still loves to play basketball and believes that everyone who plays the sport dreams to play in the NBA some day no matter what anyone else tells you.
The pressures of being a collegiate athlete have not affected him significantly.
He says he knows that there is a certain responsibility that comes with the territory, but like in everything else he is out to prove that he can do it.
Hendrick admits campus life is a lot different than from where he comes from, but having his family so close helps him adjust to the situation.
This young but experienced freshman has a long way to go until his senior year. Come graduation, however, Hendrick says he will have proven everyone wrong once more.