One of the biggest stories of this year's NBA draft has been the huge buzz surrounding Lester Hudson. He was first introduced to the nation in his 3rd game with Tennessee-Martin when he became the first in NCAA history to produce a quadruple double. Hudson's all around play and clutch shooting has reminded many draft watchers of 1996 draftee Derek Fisher with his small school setting and savvy court play. The Draft Review sat down with Hudson, who gave us time out of his busy schedule to talk about his ascent from struggling high school student to potential first round pick.
1. Growing up in Memphis many basketball players I have spoke with say that former players such as Anfernee Hardaway and Eliot Perry were big time role models for them. Who has been your inspiration or the player you've tried to pattern your game after?
Anfernee Hardaway and Elliot Perry gave me hope that ball players out of Memphis could make it playing professional basketball, but Michael Jordan is who I credit my style of play towards. I try to do everything he does in a 6"3' body frame.
2. Who’s having a better time this year, Lester Hudson the baller or Lester Hudson the student?
Both them are having a pretty good year.
3. What would you say to someone facing similar issues with school that you once had?
I would say prioritize your goals, stay focused, and P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happens).
4. This season has been statically amazing for you. Did you know what you were doing or were you in such a grove that, after the season was over, you looked back and realized how good your numbers were across the board?
Well, I wanted to go out and play hard for 40 minutes, so any of my prolific performances came from going hard and at the same time, staying coachable. No, I did not know; I just let whatever happened happen.
5. A great deal of scouts and GM’s that I have talked with label you this year’s “Derek Fisher” in that both of you are from small school settings and both of you are tremendous shooters. Can you see those similarities between the two of you?
I don't mind any scouts or GM's comparing me to Derek Fisher, being that we're both from small schools. He had an excellent career, and if God wills, I would like to have a career just as successful.
6. What was the one thing that surprised you the most about Division I basketball - was it the speed of the game, the physically demanding play or something else?
From Juco, our system was "run and gun", so I wasn't new to the speed, but learning how important it is to play defense was a big step for me. It brought a new sense of hunger to my game.
7. Some in the press and around the rumor mill had you leaving Tennessee-Martin all together, but after talking to you it is clear you are still very much in class. Could you explain why it’s important for you to maintain your grades?
It's very important to me to maintain my grades because education is the key the life. And I regard graduating from college and obtaining my degree a great goal yet to be accomplished. Within the midst of all the sport's hype, I'm still in class working hard. I started this school year off as a student athlete, and I'm going to finish it as one.
8. Historically speaking the last player from the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) with your kind of draft status was Trenton Hassell, and you will be the first from Tennessee-Martin to be drafted by the NBA. Can you tell us what it means for you to represent not only your school but your conference?
It's a positive situation for my school and my conference because it shows that the OVC has good players like any other conference.
9. For those that have never seen you play could you describe your game to them?
I'm what you call an "All Around Player" because I dominate many areas of the court.
10. What are some of the things you have been working on while getting prepared for the draft and what does a normal day for Lester Hudson look like?
I have been studying a lot of my past season games and criticizing my mistakes. Even in games I thought I was great in, I still find areas I need to improve on, especially if we lost. A normal day for me is constant workout drills and practicing ball handling.
11. In your third game you had a quadurable double of 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals against Central Baptist. Could you tell us how you were feeling during the game and after?
Actually, that game was weird because everything was going slow for me offensively, so I went to my defensive skills to create some offensive opportunities for my team. Everything else just fell into place. My coach took me out with 3 minutes left and someone told him I was a steal away from a quadruple double, so he begged for me to go back in, but I didn't feel there was a need to because we were up 25 points. Then he said, "Get me a steal; you are about to make history." And here I am, Mr. Quadruple Double.
12. Your numbers this season were great against high level conferences like Memphis, UNLV and Vanderbilt. When you played these teams did you feel like you had to prove yourself or was it just another game for you?
I believe big players step up when challenges are set in front of them and if we could've matched up down low, we could've beat anyone of those teams.
13. Andre Applewhite, your former high school coach, is credited with getting you motivated for playing basketball in college. Having someone believe in you is big for anyone climbing over obstacles. Who else do you credit with aiding you?
I would definately say coach Applewhite played a major role in my success. And I can't forget Ruben Webber, my high school friend, who always joked with me about how bad my hooping skills were. He would tease me about how old schoolmates, Derrick Byars and Marvett Mcdonald, would "murder" me on the court. So I always keep those moments in mind; they make me work harder and harder.
14. How anxious are you to get workouts with guards that some NBA teams may rate higher than you?
I'm very anxious. I wish the Orlando Camp was tomorrow. I don't have anything against any players who rank ahead of me. It just makes me more hungry, plus I've been at the bottom of the list my whole life, and I hope they see that I'm a fighter and I will work just as hard as any of the other guys.
15. Now I know you’re a humble guy but if you had to rate yourself as a draft prospect, where do you think you rank among the rest of the guards in the draft and why?
"I knew you were going to get me with this one!" But honestly, I rank myself in guards #2 behind Derrick Rose. I say behind, because he led his team to a championship game, but you can give me the team that anyone of them had, and I believe I could have did what Carmelo Anthony did for Syracuse in 2003. So I would rank myself in the top 5 amongst all the guards out there.
Article: Lester Hudson... Boom or Bust?