10 Questions.. with Tennessee-Martin star Lester Hudson. The senior do-everything guard is a statistical machine who burst onto the D1 scene last year. The reigning OVC Player of the Year is hoping to be a 2009 Lottery pick.
1. How does a 6'3" guard get so many rebounds?
LH. I have a strong desire for the ball, and my wingspan (6'9") helps too. I can also jump a bit, while timing the ball well and figuring out where it is going. I am a shooter, so I know how the ball comes off the rim.
2. What specific part of your game are you most proud of?
LH. I think I am a good all-around player, so no specific part.
3. What do you have left to prove after being named OVC player of the year last season?
LH. I would like to repeat as OVC player of the year, and try to be an AP All-American (1st-team, specifically). I also want to be a leader to my teammates in the right way: working hard every day, not taking days off, etc. I would also like to win the OVC and win at least 2 games in the NCAA Tournament.
4. What was it like last year when you became the first D-I player to ever record a quadruple-double (25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals vs. Central Baptist)?
LH. I was just playing my regular game and doing everything as usual, and did not realize I was close to doing that: in fact, I think the only time I had even heard of the term was when David Robinson did it once. My coach (Bret Campbell) was going to take me out towards the end, but the guy on our bench who keeps our stats told him to keep me in, and the rest of the bench told me to get 1 more steal. The guy I was guarding used a crossover a lot, so I just waited for it and then got the steal to finish it off, and then Coach took me out and congratulated me.
5. What impact has Coach Campbell had on you?
LH. Coach Campbell is a great guy, and had a part in everything I am doing. He had a lot to do with last year’s success: he told me I needed a better jump shot to become a complete player, so I worked on my jumper during my redshirt year, and it worked out for me well last year.
6. What were the reasons for your academic problems before you got to Tennessee-Martin?
LH. I was kind of lazy and just did not like school, and I put basketball first before anything else. As I got older, I realized that I had to do the schoolwork in order to play basketball, so I have tried my best to make the best grades I can. I love basketball, and did not like when it was taken away from me because of academics.
7. What happened with the NBA draft last summer?
LH. I wanted to test the draft waters: sometimes you only get one chance to fulfill your dream and play in the NBA. I thought it over some more as the deadline rolled around: everyone told me I would go early in the second round, and the teams that liked me in the first round could not promise to draft me in the first round. Coach Campbell told me that I could come back and definitely get drafted in the second round next year. In the end, I just did not want to leave until it was the way I wanted to: by winning a ring and getting my degree. It is very important for me to graduate I might even start crying when I get my diploma. My family/coaches/friends are very happy for me to have a chance to graduate, and I just feel blessed right now.
8. What do you feel is your best skill?
LH. I am a scorer, but the coaches have told me to play ball. I got noticed for scoring, but the quadruple-double really took it to another level. I think another “skill” I have is just being an all-around player. It is rare for a guard my size to be able to do everything I do: some guys are good shooters or passers, but I try to do it all. If I get drafted, I will play whatever they want me to: I think I can play either the 1 or 2, both now and in the future.
9. What was it like growing up in Memphis?
LH. It was really rough: kids want a lot of things but they cannot always get them, so it is easy to get into bad things like drugs and crime to get some money. However, you can also end up in jail and lose your dream, and I wanted to give myself a chance to play ball, so I am glad I got out of there and am happy with the outcome so far. My mom could not afford to buy me decent shoes, so I had to get cheap shoes, and kids would talk about them when they saw me on the court, so that is one reason why I have stayed strong.
10. Has it been very different this year after not getting to practice with the team this summer due to NBA pre-draft camp?
LH. I did not get to work out like I wanted to, because I had to travel so much for workouts, but I do not think it will affect me too much.