|Hudson’s pro stock not bettered at pre-draft camp |
|UT Martin head coach Bret Campbell insists NBA representatives didn’t see the true Lester Hudson. |
That could be good news for the Skyhawks’ hoop fortunes next season.
Campbell said that although Hudson is “still in the mix to be drafted” by one of 30 professional teams later this month, UTM’s star guard and last season’s Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year did not solidify that status with his play at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando last week.
Should Hudson not project among the top 35 picks in that selection process, his coach said he’d likely return to UT Martin for his senior season as his academic standing is good.
“I thought he played OK after the first game, but I’m not sure he did anything to help himself,” Campbell told The Messenger after spending the week in Florida with Hudson. “In that first game, I thought he tried too hard to get everybody involved. He was trying to be a true point guard.
“I told him afterward that he needed to be more aggressive and to actually be a little more selfish. They were looking for the guy who averaged over 25 points-a-game and was unstoppable offensively, and I don’t know that they ever saw that player.”
Underclassmen such as Hudson who did not hire an agent have until June 16 to remove their names from draft consideration and return to college with their eligibility intact.
The two-round draft will be held June 26.
Hudson — initially projected to be a late first-round or early second-round draft choice — was one of 65 players to participate in the pre-draft camp.
Each engaged in numerous individual drills, then played three games after teams were divided evenly at the camp.
Hudson reportedly struggled when pitted against North Carolina guard Ty Lawson.
And while he fared some better in both his second and third games, the 6-2 guard who recorded college basketball’s only quadruple-double in a record-breaking junior season, was said to have never flashed the dynamic form that drew countless NBA teams to Skyhawk games last winter.
“The way they split the teams up, he had about 20 minutes in each of the three games to make an impression,” Campbell claimed. “He did fine in the drill work part. He just didn’t ever do like we’d seen him do when he took over games so many times last season.”
Hudson — who averaged 25.5 ppg last season to rank among the Top 5 scorers in the nation — will work out individually for several teams prior to making the decision whether or not to keep his name on the draft list.
He was eyeballed by Cleveland Cavalier executives on Tuesday, was to be in Detroit today, Washington Thursday and New Jersey on Friday.
The San Antonio Spurs and Seattle Supersonics have also set up workouts for next week.
“His mindset is that there’s still an opportunity for him to be drafted late in the first round or in the first five picks of the second round,” Campbell continued. “That’s where the guaranteed money and the stability of the three-year contracts are. He’ll lean a lot on the panel of NBA people that the league puts together for such instances as to where he might go if he’s drafted.”
The UTM coach was adament in his stance that the situation is a win-win scenario for his university and the Skyhawk men’s program.
“If Lester is projected to be drafted in that 35-or-above slot this year, it’s put us on the map publicity-wise,” Campbell claimed. “He’s already done that with some of the things he accomplished on the court last year.
“But if he doesn’t and chooses to come back to school for his senior year, he’s already had this camp exposure and will probably be a preseason All-American next season. We really do just want the best for him. It’s going to work out that way either way for our program.”
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.