Emerson fan favorite trades court for cameras

Most take the safe route and count on a good education to bring success. But Hendricks is leaving Emerson, its basketball team and his hometown of 20 years to set out and follow his dreams.,Not everyone has the risk-taking ambition of Morales Hendricks, a sophomore who is choosing a road less traveled.

Most take the safe route and count on a good education to bring success. But Hendricks is leaving Emerson, its basketball team and his hometown of 20 years to set out and follow his dreams.

The Dorchester native is taking a semester off and will pursue acting and modeling in Florida this summer.

He said he plans to leave in April for Orlando, where he will live with his grandmother. There, he hopes to attend summer classes at Valencia Community College and work on gigs out of Miami on weekends.

“It’s just a fresh start,” Hendricks said about his decision to leave Emerson and put his aspirations as a TV/video major on hold.

He said he knew he wanted to try something different and live someplace else since last summer.

“Ever since I was a kid, everything about movies has interested me,” Hendricks said.

While acting always captivated him, he figured film production was more practical.

“I wasn’t going to pay all that money to go to school for acting,” he said, adding he believes acting is something one should simply do rather than get educated in.

Hendricks has experience in several plays and fashion shows.

He said he has been pleased with his Emerson experience and the courses he’s taken, even though he was set back as a transfer student. Several credits from The New England Institute of Art were not accepted when he transferred to Emerson after the first semester of his freshman year.

Now that he is moving on again, Hendricks said whatever happens is fine.

He hopes to attend New York Film Academy at Universal Studios next fall and eventually go on to Palm Beach Film School.

While the Film Academy offers short-term programs, Hendricks said the Palm Beach School is more like a university. He would like to graduate from there with a degree in film production.

Although the future is tough to predict, he knows this move is for the best.

Hendricks said he is not worried about getting homesick but already misses Emerson’s basketball team.

“I’ve been playing ball since fifth grade, so that’s not going to go away,” he said about his desire to keep playing.

He played for Emerson last year as a guard and still keeps in touch with some of his teammates while living in Dorchester.

“I talk to Alfredo [Tovar] almost every day,” he said.

Tovar, a key player and senior TV/video major, said he and Hendricks are currently working on a local music video.

“I’ve known [Hendricks] for about a year playing basketball and doing projects with him so we’ve gotten pretty close,” Tovar said.

He said the team misses Hendricks both on and off the court.

“He started for us, so it took us a while to get used to not having him there,” Tovar said. “But it hurt us more in the locker room.”

Tovar said he was a great teammate who lifted spirits in the locker room with a good laugh.

“We always counted on Morales to be there,” he said.

When Tovar heard Hendricks was leaving, he said he was not too shocked.

“He’s an outgoing guy, and I think he would flourish more out of the box, not in school,” Tovar said. “I think it’s a good thing for him. He’s testing the waters.”

Hendricks is not the only one excited about the move.

He said his grandmother is looking forward to living with him, and his mother is extremely supportive even though he is leaving her.

If all goes well, Hendricks could end up as famous as his favorite actor, Jamie Foxx.

“Five years from now, if everything works out perfectly,” he said, “I’ll be on stage accepting an Academy Award.”