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Just before halftime in a preseason game against Hope International, Andrew Batiuk gathered an inbound pass while Cory Hendryx streaked the length of the court, full steam ahead. The sophomore center launched a Steve Young-like Hail Mary while Hendryx played the role of Jerry Rice with an over-the-shoulder catch.
The junior guard didn’t stop there, however, as he maintained his balance and focus and finished the remarkable play with a layup.
To the novice Wildcat fan, the combination was nothing more than an impressive scoring play. To those who share a connection with Hendryx, it was a perfect example of everything he represents as a player, teammate and person.
“He is a tremendous, hard-nosed player who works just as hard if not harder than anyone else on the team,” head coach Larry Doty replied when asked about Hendryx’ work ethic.
“My parents are two of the hardest working people I know, and they are definitely my biggest role models,” said Hendryx, adding, “my sister is another one of my influences.”
Hendryx’ sister, Zoey, is a Linfield freshman and participates on the women’s basketball team.
“We have always been really close, and he was a big part of the reason I decided to come here,” she responded when asked about Cory’s impact on her school selection. “I’m not a starter but he always tells me to keep my head up and reminds me that he was in the same position. Knowing I can succeed like him drives me to keep going.
“We are always competitive when we play but he is always trying to help me. I’ve been playing since fourth grade and it has always been a big part of our family.”
Aside from his family, Hendryx finds motivation to work hard and compete from those around him, specifically within teammate Dakotah Pine. “We definitely push each other and we are both super competitive,” said Hendryx regarding his relationship with Pine.
In addition to their on-court camaraderie, the two live in the same house and have been good friends since both arrived at Linfield in 2010. “Everything is a competition between us,” said Pine adding, “Cory is a guy that you love to play with and hate to play against.”
Doty believes it is this very competitive edge that causes Hendryx to stand out on the team. “He really understands our system of play and we never have to tell him to get going.”
Players such as point guard Brandon Harris agree that Hendryx’ presence is key to the team’s success. “Cory is a great leader and I can always trust him to bring energy consistently.”
Hendryx is a third-year varsity player, and it is no surprise that his basketball background extends back as far as he can remember.
“I started playing organized basketball in third grade, and I was a three-sport athlete throughout high school,” said Hendryx, who participated in soccer and baseball along with basketball.
While his discipline and work ethic are products of his lifelong excellence in athletics, Hendryx explained how he is a significantly different player than he was before coming to Linfield. “Mostly the knowledge I have gained has made me a much different player than I was in high school,” Hendryx said.
Hailing from Scappoose, Ore., population 6,592, Hendryx listed Linfield’s close-knit community as one of the key factors in his decision to become a Wildcat. “I liked the small-town feel Linfield gave me and how the professors here know you by name.” Hendryx also cited Doty as a major factor, saying, “when I talked to him, I believed in how he coached and I sensed he wanted to build me into more than just a player.”
Doty expects Hendryx to excel this season and lead by example through his energetic and intelligent style of play. “Being one of the best shooters in the program, he will provide scoring for us from the outside,” Doty said. “He shows tenacity defensively and in terms of rebounding, and whether he starts or comes off the bench it doesn’t change the way he plays the game.”
“He is a skilled shooter, and he works hard everyday and does the little things right,” Harris commented about Hendryx’ scoring ability.
Currently, Hendryx ranks in the top five on the team in terms of scoring, averaging 7.2 points per game in the young season. A trio of 3-point field goals against Warner Pacific contributed to 13 points in a game in which he also grabbed five rebounds.
“My first two years I was more defensively minded, whereas this year my role will expand more into the offensive end,” said Hendryx when asked about his expectations for this season. “We have a bunch of good returning players and a good influx of freshman talent, and I’m excited about the season.”
Hendryx is a business management major and has hopes of incorporating his love of sports into his future career. “My dream job is to be the general manager of a sports franchise,” he commented.
In the meantime, the ‘Cats will rely on Hendryx’ incredible work ethic and consistently enthusiastic presence to strive toward a successful season.
-- Evan O'Kelly '13