|Memphis abuzz about Hudson |
|Posted: Monday, August 2, 2010 5:52 pm |
|As the city of Memphis grieves over the loss of one of its own — former University of Memphis and Grizzlies star Lorenzen Wright — fellow Memphian and former University of Tennessee at Martin standout Lester Hudson unleashed a performance on Wednesday night that has many in the community abuzz. |
The former Skyhawk dazzled his hometown fans with a spectacular 74-point showing.
Hudson has spent most of his time this summer playing for the Thunder in the Bluff City Classic — a pro-am league based in Memphis which started in 1981 but has rekindled this summer after a seven-year layoff, thanks to contributions from former NBA great Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and local businessman Stanley Blue.
The league, which began on June 15 and will run through Aug. 12, features nine teams stockpiled with some of the best local talent, including former and current collegiate and professional players.
After leading the Thunder to a 5-3 record and the No. 3 seed in the league playoffs that began on July 27, Hudson was already determined to put on a show.
With the news spreading last week that Wright — one of the most likeable figures in the Memphis basketball community — had passed away at the age of 34, Hudson decided to honor Wright’s memory with a monumental game.
Showing the same explosive ability to put the ball in the hoop that the two-time All-American did at UT Martin, Hudson stole the show by going off for what is believed to be an all-time Bluff City Classic record 74-point performance.
Playing on the same floor as he did for one season before joining the Skyhawk program from Southwest Community College, Hud-son poured in 50 of his points in the second half alone and hit an astounding 18 3-pointers in the game.
Even more impressive is that the game featured two 20-minute running clock halves, which translates to Hudson scoring nearly two points for every minute of real-time.
Skyhawk head coach Jason James, who recruited Hudson while he was an assistant coach at UT Martin, received a call from Hudson.
“He kept saying he was just in the zone,” James said. “He was having a lot of fun out there playing basketball.”
It’s been a whirlwind year for Hudson since leading the Skyhawks to their first-ever Ohio Valley Conference title and graduating from UT Martin with his degree in university studies in May 2009.
After he was the only draft pick of the Boston Celtics (58th overall) in June last year, Hudson appeared in 16 games for the Celtics before hooking up with his hometown Grizzlies in early January.
He saw action in nine games for Memphis, including his best game as a pro against the two-time defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers Feb. 1.
In that game, he scored a career-high 13 points (including 11 in under eight minutes of playing time in the second quarter) to help the Grizzlies edge the Lakers by a 95-93 score.
However, the Grizzlies waived Hudson when the NBA free agency period began on July 1.
The Washington Wizards and head coach Flip Saunders wasted no time swooping in on him, and he participated in the team’s Summer League games.
Hudson made a noticeable impression on the league as his minutes and points increased with each game.
He helped the Wizards to a 4-1 record, starting in three of the five games.
Hudson averaged 11.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 49 percent from the floor, including nailing 48 percent of his 3-point attempts.
His summer league season ended with a 19-point, nine-assist effort vs. the New York Knicks squad on July 17.
Hudson also gained national notoriety July 17 against the New Orleans Hornets. In the third quarter of the game, Hudson recovered a steal and — facing a wide-open court on a fast break — unselfishly lofted the ball high off the backboard to a surging Wall, who slammed the ball home for a thunderous alley-oop slam dunk. The play appear all throughout the night on ESPN’s “Sportscenter’s Top-10 Plays of the Day” montage and later on in the week as one of ESPN’s “Top-10 Plays of the Week.”
With his impressive summer sample with the Wizards, Washington Post Wizards Insider Michael Lee has stated on several occasions that Hudson deserves an invite to the Wizards preseason training camp when the team convenes in late September.
Until then, Hudson will continue to train and focus on his upcoming second season as a pro basketball player.
No doubt — with the addition of a 74-point game to go with the feat of being the only NCAA men’s basketball Division-I player to accumulate a quadruple-double in a single game on his resume — the legend of Lester Hudson not only grew in his hometown of Memphis, but across the nation as well.