CORDOVA — Dylan Hendrix started his senior basketball season on the bench recovering from surgery.
Once he got the chance to play, Hendrix helped elevate the Blue Devils into area contender.
Hendrix is the Daily Mountain Eagle Elite Boys Player of the Year.
Battling back from offseason double hip surgery, Hendrix averaged 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists and was named the Walker County Tournament MVP after leading the Blue Devils to the championship.
“He missed the first six games. He probably came back too early,” Cordova boys basketball coach Nathan Sanders said. “Being a senior he wanted to be out there. I challenged him over the summer. I told him that the team goes as he goes. He put in a ton of work. He was at every lift and gym session. He became a leader.
“Dylan is sneaky athletic. He may not be as quick as other guys, but he’s a three-level scorer, he can defend and he handles the ball well.”
Hendrix saved one of his best games for last, going for 32 points in a 56-54 last-second loss to eventual area champ Center Point. Hendrix also led Cordova with 30 points and seven rebounds in the county championship win. He went a perfect 6 of 6 at the free throw line over the final minute to seal a 69-60 win.
“I think after Christmas he was at 100 percent. That’s when he separated himself. He had some big games this year — the county championship, the area games and the area tournament,” Sanders said.
“He was a state champion as a ninth grader. He went through three head coaches. I think that may have hurt his game because he changed systems so many times. This year he bought in. He is the reason we had the success we did. We are really going to miss him. He’s been a special player to me. I was an assistant (his freshman season) and just to see the progression over the last four years means a lot.”
There is an expanded Eagle Elite first team this season and no second team.
Joining Hendrix on the Eagle Elite First Team are Carbon Hill’s Ishmael Jones and Zack Lawhorn, Cordova’s Jason Johnson, Curry’s Weston Horton and Luke Smith, Dora’s Dee Wilkerson and Malique Davis, Jasper’s Trinity Epps and John David Harrell, Oakman’s AJ Odom and Dray Willingham, Sumiton Christian’s Zach Hill, Lynn’s Griffin Lynn, Meek’s Jarrett Benson and Kendrick Smith and Addison’s Logan Wilkins.
Honorable Mention selections are Cordova’s Hunter Bates and Japeth Howell, Curry’s Ryan George, Dora’s Jayden McDavid, Sumiton Christian’s Wilson Guthrie, Addison’s Ell Howse, Lynn’s Lance Harris, Meek’s Ory Frith and Winston County’s Sy Blanton.