Beaming with joy, Widefield’s Alan Herndon followed in his mother’s footsteps Wednesday by signing a national letter of intent to play basketball at Wyoming.
Joined by his parents Chenell and Mike, the Gladiators senior was all smiles as he signed in the school’s library as friends, teammates and faculty looked on. The 6-foot-8 Herndon was euphoric as he enjoyed some food, laughs and praise after the ceremony.
“I just can’t stop smiling,” said Herndon, who averaged 9.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks as a junior last season. “It’s finally hitting me that, after 18 years of hard work, I’m getting paid off for it. I’ve always dreamed about this.”
Herndon’s father played basketball at Virginia Military Institute, and his mother — the “short” one in the family at 5-10 — played at Wyoming before graduating with a degree in computer science.
“This is just overwhelming,” said the 6-6 Mike Herndon, who played at VMI from 1981-85. “I had a chance to do this about 30 years ago, and to see it come full circle with him is just great. This should be a good season for Alan, and I know he’s looking forward to it.”
Alan’s older sister, Kimberly (who’s 6-2), played at Widefield and is a student at Baylor.
His parents have kept Alan Herndon, who is expected to grow to 6-10, humble and grounded as his career has developed.
“My dad has a poster of him dunking on someone, so even if I have a good game or make a nice play, he’s holding it against me until I get that too,” Herndon said. “I’ve got to get a poster.”
Herndon has a 3.3 grade-point average, and plans to major in business.
Widefield boys’ basketball coach Brent Garretson was complimentary of his prize player, whom he praises for his versatility and ball-handling ability.
“I’ve known coach (Larry) Shyatt for a long time, and Wyoming and he are lucky to get him, and they know it,” Garretson said. “For his size, Alan is the best skill player I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s a terrific student and a great leader, and I can’t ever say enough about him.
“He’s just a total class act.”
Alan Herndon knows he needs to continue to improve and put some weight on his 180-pound frame before he gets to college. He has begun lifting weights more frequently and is drinking protein shakes in an effort to bulk up.
“They want me to get up to 195 or 200, so I’ve got to work on that,” he said. “I just need to keep working and keep getting better. This is our senior season, so I just want us to get as far as we possibly can and reach the potential we have.”
Herndon’s lack of bulk led to one of the great quotes of signing day, provided in a press release from Shyatt at Wyoming.
“Alan is a lean young man that I call a piece of spaghetti right now,” Shyatt said. “But he is going to be a very good pasta.”