Hendricks making impact for Rams

STRASBURG — Mekhi Hendricks may have been a little nervous in his first week playing at the varsity level, but he certainly didn’t let it show on the basketball court.

The Strasburg freshman point guard made a big impact for the Rams in his first two games last week.

“I was a little nervous. I was afraid I was going to not play to my ability,” Hendricks said. “I think I did pretty good, and the team played good in the first week of basketball.”

Hendricks averaged 15 points in his first two games, and helped spark the Rams to two victories. Hendricks’ play earned him The Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6.

Hendricks played a vital role in Strasburg pulling away from Shenandoah County rival Stonewall Jackson last Friday. Hendricks scored the first six points of the second half to help the Rams extend their lead.

“I came into the locker room and I wasn’t really hitting my shots in the first half,” Hendricks said. “Everybody was telling me to keep shooting and they’ll go in eventually. So I came into the second half with a mindset to just let it fly and if it doesn’t go in it doesn’t go in, but luckily they went in.”

The 5-foot-7 Hendricks said he has always played the point guard position, and he enjoys it and the responsibilities that come with it.

“The point guard is like the leader of the team,” Hendricks said. “That puts a lot of pressure on you. I think I handle it pretty well. You got to do it all. You’ve got to score, but you still got to facilitate. You got to put pressure on the offense when you’re on the defensive end, and you got to control the tempo of the game. So, it’s challenging, but I’m learning.”

Hendricks said he loves to watch Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul and tries to learn from watching him play.

Strasburg coach Matt Hiserman said Hendricks is very smart at the position for being so young.

“He’s just so savvy with the ball,” Hiserman said. “He doesn’t seem to get rattled, being a freshman. … Even in practice he doesn’t get real rattled. He’s lanky, he’s long. He’s pretty smart about picking up things on the floor.”

Hendricks said he tries to play as much as possible in the off season, and he’s planning on playing on an Amatuer Athletic Union team this season.

Despite being the only freshman and starting, Hendricks said he feels like his teammates have embraced him.

“They’ve accepted me,” Hendricks said. “I think I had to earn it in practice, and I think I’ve done good against the older guys.”

Hendricks said he doesn’t have any goals this season for himself, he just wants to help lead the team to wins.

“This year I think we can have a pretty good team,” Hendricks said. “Obviously, the goal is to win the state title. But you have to take it by baby steps. You’ve got to win games as you go and not look too far ahead. We’re only in the first week, but I think we’ve been playing pretty good so far for one week of basketball. We’ve got some tests this week with Madison and Warren County. if we can pull those out, I think we’ll be ready.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com