UTM’s Hudson named OVC Male Athlete of Year

UTM’s Hudson named OVC Male Athlete of Year
UTM's Hudson named OVC Male Athlete of Year | Lester Hudson, UT Martin, Skyhawks, OVC, Ohio Valley Conference, Bret Campbell

OVC Male Athlete of Year — UT Martin’s Lester Hudson raked in another award as the Ohio Valley Conference announced on Wednesday that the Skyhawk junior was its OVC Male Athlete of the Year.
A basketball season for the ages has made UT Martin Skyhawk junior Lester Hudson a very busy man this week. So busy, in fact, he’ll be unable to accept the Ohio Valley Conference’s Male Athlete of the Year Award, the league’s top honor, when it will be presented by Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher on Friday during the OVC’s annual spring meetings at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. While the OVC will be lauding its top talent in Nashville, Hudson will still be in Florida trying to impress those in charge at the next level — the NBA. “It’s very well deserved,” UTM head basketball coach Bret Campbell said of the conference award during a phone interview Wednesday. Campbell is in Florida with Hudson. “We’re very proud of his accomplishments. I think being named the athlete of the year in the conference is a great accomplishment. It’s amazing that he’s had that impact in just one year.” Hudson will not be able to accept the award because he is participating in NBA pre-draft camp in Florida. Although Hudson declared himself eligible for the June 26 draft, he did not hire an agent so he would be eligible to return to school for his senior season. “He’s looking forward to competing with and challenging the athletes who are expected to play at the next level,” Campbell said of Hudson’s involvement in the pre-draft camp. Hudson put together one of the best all-around seasons in Ohio Valley Conference history in 2007-08 and helped his team make a six-game improvement in its league record. The Skyhawks were picked last (11th) in a preseason poll but finished fourth and qualified for the OVC Tournament. “I’ve been in the OVC for 17 years, and I haven’t seen anyone have that kind of impact in their first season. It’s been amazing,” Campbell said. Hudson made school, conference and NCAA history during the season, including becoming the first Division I men’s player to record a quadruple-double (25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals vs. Central Baptist College) in a college game. He also had a triple-double, eight additional double-doubles and cracked the 30-point plateau 11 times during his rookie season in the league. He finished the season ranked fifth nationally in points per game (25.7); fourth in steals (2.8) and 10th in 3-pointers made per game (3.8). He also ranked among the top 90 nationally in rebounding (79th, 7.8/game), assists (88th, 4.5/game), 3-point percentage (72nd, 38.8 percent) and free throw percentage (67th, 83.4 percent). “He’s one of the most complete players I’ve ever been around or coached. He can do a number of things. He can score. He keeps his teammates involved. He rebounds. He just does so many things to complement the players around him,” the UTM coach said. Hudson knocked down a school record 124 3-pointers and set the OVC single-season record for shots made from behind the arc. A native of Memphis who transferred from Southwest Tennessee Community College, Hudson is the first UT Martin player to receive the OVC Player of the Year award. He was also named to the OVC All-Newcomer squad, became just the fourth Skyhawk ever named to the All-OVC first-team and was named UT Martin’s Bob Carroll Male Athlete of the Year. With All-American honors from the Associated Press and collegeinsider.com, Hudson became the first player in school history to claim the honors since the school started playing in Division I.

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