|Hudson’s playoff trip is courtside to court |
|Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012 7:00 pm |
| Lester Hudson, the former UT Martin basketball standout, remembers watching the Memphis Grizzlies play in the NBA playoffs last year. He sat close to the court and acted like a fan and not the Boston Celtics 2009 58th overall pick in the draft. |
“The atmosphere in this place was incredible,” he said.
Now, one year after being a fan, Hudson will don a Grizzlies uniform and play in the NBA Playoffs.
“I am excited to be in the playoffs,” he said Monday night after he scored nine points and helped the Grizzles beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-101 in the FedEx Forum in front of 15,504 rabid Griz fans.
It was only Hudson’s second game with the Grizzlies this season. He went 0-3 from the field in Saturday’s win over Portland. Against the Cavs, the team Hudson signed two 10-day contracts with less than a month ago (March 30), he drained his first attempt, a 24-foot 3-pointer with 10:02 to play in the second quarter.
He made a 7-foot running jump shot on the next trip up the court and cut the Cavs’ lead to eight points, 41-33. After a missed Cleveland 3-pointer, Hudson added a driving finger-roll layup and cut the Cavs’ lead to six points, 41-35.
Hudson added two free throws later in the quarter and the Grizzlies built a six-point lead 54-48 with 42 seconds to play in the half.
“I am not in the flow yet,” Hudson said after the game. “I am studying the playbook and learning every day.”
While Hudson is playing in his hometown of Memphis, he joins his former Boston Celtics teammate Tony Allen on the Grizzlies roster.
The Celtics drafted Hudson in 2009, and Allen, who scored 1,000-points in two years at Oklahoma State, re-signed with the Celtics on July 23, 2008.
“Tony and I have grown as friends,” Hudson said. “We worked out together this past summer and we hang out.”
Allen signed a three-year contract with Memphis in July 2010.
Known for his defense, Allen had 13 points, three rebounds and a franchise-high eight steals in the win over Cleveland. It was his best effort since missing five games earlier this month because of mouth lacerations.
“Lester (Hudson) has been grown up,” Allen said. “Look at the road he has taken.”
Hudson averaged 4.9 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 10.6 minutes in 49 career games for the Celtics, Grizzlies, Washington Wizards and Cavaliers.
He also played professionally in the NBA Development League with the Maine Red Claws (2009-10), Dakota Wizards (2009-10) and Austin Toros (2011-12), as well as in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers (2011) and Qingdao DoubleStar (2011-12).
Hudson recorded 4.0 points in 6.8 minutes in nine appearances for the Grizzlies as a rookie in 2009-10.
“I know his work ethic,” Allen said.
Hudson, the first men’s player in Division I history to record a quadruple-double (25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals) on Nov. 12, 2007 vs. Central Baptist College, said all of the stops on his resume have been good for him.
“I have made great friends and learned a lot of things along the way,” Hudson said. “This is a good opportunity for me playing for Memphis. There is nothing like playing at home where my family and friends can see me.”
The first UTM player ever selected in the NBA Draft, Hudson was a two-time Ohio Valley Conference Male Athlete of the Year. He led UTM to its first OVC regular season title in 2008-09. Published in The Messenger 4.26.12