Lester Hudson

Lester Hudson profile
Drafted #58 in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Celtics
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
Weight: 196 lbs (89 kg)
Position: PG/SG
High School: Central High School (Tennessee)
Hometown: Memphis, TN
College: UT Martin
Current Team: Shandong
Win - Loss: 18 - 28


NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/15/09

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Scott Nadler
Scott Nadler
Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Mar 15, 2009, 01:34 am
After an underwhelming showing at the NBA pre-draft camp last summer, Lester Hudson decided to return to school for his senior season, where he may as well have carbon copied his statline from the prior season. In analyzing the limited footage we have access to from Tennessee Martin, there are a few new observations to be had about the 24-year-old combo guard, but we’re mostly looking at the same player we extensively covered a year ago.

Hudson’s role for the Skyhawks is very much the same as it was last season, as the scoring guard spends time at both guard positions while carrying the burden of having to create a large amount of offense for his team, leading our entire database in percentage of team possessions used. It’s tough to evaluate Hudson’s true potential as a distributor given the role he’s forced to play, but he shows flashes of decent court vision, is not a selfish player, and shows nice prowess in drawing the defense and kicking the ball to the open man.

As a scorer, Hudson is still the same smooth shooter, capable of pulling up with a hand in his face and scoring from all areas of the court. As we highlighted last year, despite his high number of shots taken, he doesn’t force the issue very much in context.

If Hudson’s improved in any area this season, it’d have to be with his ball-handling, where he’s showing a better command of advanced moves and more creativity in getting open for shots. His 0.14 turnovers per possession is well above average, especially for a guard burdened with spending so much time with the ball in his hands. Hudson’s creativity extends to his lay-ups as well, where he shows very good body control and touch, frequently scoring on floaters, reverses, and other high difficulty shots.

Defensively, Hudson is as strong as ever, still ranking near the top of our database in steals, while also playing aggressive and effective man-to-man defense with his strong fundamental stance. As alluded to last year, his lateral quickness is a concern when projecting to the next level, and he’s even beat laterally on occasion against the low level of competition he plays against.

Given the competition level he plays against, the unorthodox role he plays in his team’s offense, and the struggles he faced earlier in the season against quality opponents, it may be hard for talent evaluators to come to strong conclusions about Hudson, and his showing at last year’s NBA pre-draft camp certainly doesn’t help his case. With the changes in the camp this year, Hudson won’t be able to show scouts what he’s capable of in an orthodox role in a 5-on-5 setting against high level competition unless he attends the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, something he should be highly considering, as he needs every chance he can get to be seen by teams, since he’s no lock to be drafted at this point.

NBA Pre-Draft Camp, Day Three

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
May 30, 2008, 08:35 am
Lester Hudson had yet another uneven performance in game two, alternating between displaying fantastic scoring instincts and creativity and forcing the issues badly at times and making bad decisions. He clearly is an A+ shooter, both from the perimeter and especially creating separation from his defender with smooth body control from mid-range, but needs to show better patience deciding when to shoot. He can throw the ball in the rim from a variety of different angles, but has not been very judicious with his decision making. He finished the game with 13 points, 2 assists, 4 steals and 4 turnovers in 23 minutes.

Lester Hudson: "I want to show my skills to all the NBA GMs"

Joey Whelan
Joey Whelan
May 17, 2008, 11:14 am
By now you’ve probably heard of Lester Hudson. If you have, you’ve probably heard about his amazing story: how he failed to graduate from high school or junior college; how he wound up at the University of Tennessee-Martin, and of course, the jaw dropping numbers. In his first three games played at the Division 1 level, Hudson torched national runner-up Memphis for 35 points, and recorded the first quadruple-double in Division 1 men’s basketball history. Hudson’s journey by now has been recounted by dozens of publications across the country, not that the 23 year old junior is complaining.

“I’m happy everyone knows what I’ve been through and what I’ve been able to accomplish,” Hudson said. “It’s been a great experience for me.”

Of course, Hudson’s story doesn’t end with Tennessee-Martin’s loss to Austin Peay in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament semi-finals; if anything that is where the next chapter begins.

When the season ended, Hudson took about a week off to let his body recover from the thirty-three games he logged this year. Of course, he still had to donate a significant amount of his time to classes and final exams, so Hudson will be the first to tell you, that even once he returned to the court he “wasn’t working out as hard as he should have been.”

Once he was done with his academic responsibilities, it was off to Bradenton, Florida, home to the famed IMG Academy. Hudson has already been at IMG for two weeks, living and training with other NBA hopefuls including Courtney Lee, Stanley Burrell, Reggie Williams, Brian Roberts, Pat Calathes and prep big man John Riek. While the players have yet to scrimmage against each other in their time together thus far, Hudson stated that it has been a good experience getting to see other elite players working out up close.

Cross-Country Workout Swing: Part One, PTC @IMG Academy

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
May 16, 2008, 08:46 pm
Lester Hudson- The first thing you notice about Hudson is that he’s probably significantly shorter than the 6-3 he was listed at in college—6-1 looks more like it. Regardless, he makes up for that in a big way with his incredible 6-9 ½ wingspan, and a massive frame—causing Tom Shaw to inform him that “you could play football” in case things didn’t work out with basketball, which isn’t likely.

Hudson is about as instinctive a scorer as you’ll find—“he just has that ‘it’ factor” as Dan Barto likes to say. He isn’t an incredible ball-handler, nor is he freakishly explosive, but he has a fantastic feel for putting the ball in the basket, particularly with his excellent jumper. He seems to be pretty laid back off the court, but on it he’s mostly definitely an animal, strong and tenacious, and not willing to take no for an answer. He works extremely hard and still has a lot of upside to continue to improve despite already being 23 years old—as it’s not hard to tell that he hasn’t been around a highly organized setting like this for too long (as his background would indicate), and is still very much living off his instincts at this point. The physical experts like Barto think he can still get much stronger and more sophisticated with his shot-creating tools as well.

Players like Hudson are hard to project, as not only is he a 6-1 combo guard, but he only played one season of college basketball, mostly against a very low-level of competition in the OVC. It’s hard to say how many people really have a great feel for the type of player he is right now, and from what it sounds like, he isn’t planning on making things any easier on people, as he will likely be skipping the NBA pre-draft camp.

NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/14/08-- Part Two

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Feb 15, 2008, 02:34 am
Statistically speaking, Lester Hudson is one of the most impressive all-around players in the NCAA, in this, his first season of Division I college basketball. Ranked 7th in NCAA PER amongst players in our database, 3rd in EFF, and 23rd in WIN score, it’s clear that most statistical metrics love Hudson because of how versatile his contributions are on the basketball floor.

We’re talking about a 6-3 combo guard, with an excellent wingspan, very good strength, and just decent athleticism for the NBA. It all starts with his scoring, where he currently ranks 3rd in the nation in points per game.
Hudson can put the ball in the net in a variety of ways, but he’s at his best shooting the ball from the perimeter, as evidenced the 10 3-pointers he attempts per game, ranking 3rd in the country in that category. Even with that volume of shots, he still hits an impressive 41% of these attempts. Hudson has a very pure stroke, showing terrific mechanics and a quick release, and doing a great job creating space from his matchup to get his shot off. He can hit it in many different ways, thanks to his multiple release points, and is equally dangerous coming off a screen, catching and shooting with his feet set, or pulling up off the dribble. He’s very good creating for himself in the mid-range area as well, only needing a glimmer of daylight to step back, elevate off the floor and create excellent separation with a picture perfect pull-up jumper. He can also take the ball to the basket and finish (even with contact), although he appears to be much more comfortable as a shooter than as a slasher.

Hudson plays both on and off the ball, splitting time at both guard spots in order for his team to best take advantage of his terrific scoring ability. He can get his team into his offense and shows decent court vision, particularly on the drive and dish, but is not what you would call a pure playmaker. Unlike most big-time scoring mid-major guards we’ve become accustomed to over the years, though, Hudson appears to do a very nice job of letting things come to him, not looking afraid to give the ball up to his teammates, and displaying fairly good shot-selection relative to his massive offensive role on the team. He’ll take some bad shots at times early in possessions, but he’ll also make quite a few of them. Considering how much Tennessee Tech relies on his scoring (he scores 35% of his team’s total points, ranking 3rd nationally in this category), he does a pretty good job not forcing the issue too much.

Hudson is more than just a scorer, though, he’s also the best rebounding guard in our database, a testament to his excellent wingspan, strength, toughness, and the tenacity in which he plays with. He’s a very active player in general, also doing a terrific job getting in the passing lanes, again ranking number one in the entire country in steals. He’s a pretty good all-around defender in general, putting a good amount of effort into this area (his strength and length helps him out here), although he might lack just a degree of lateral quickness.

In terms of weaknesses, Hudson certainly needs to improve his ball-handling skills, which appear to be below average for an NBA guard. He gets a little careless with the ball at times, looking out of control dribbling into traffic, and therefore turning the ball over almost four times per game. He’s also not an amazing athlete, being able to change speeds well, but not being the quickest or most explosive player you’ll find. He could probably stand to lose 10-15 pounds, which might help improve his athleticism.

Some may wonder about the level of competition Hudson faces playing in the Ohio Valley Conference. To answer that, consider that he scored 35 points against Memphis, 27 against Mississippi State, 26 against UNLV, and 36 against Vanderbilt. He also had the NCAA’s first ever quadruple-double, with 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals against mighty Central Baptist College. Even more impressive is the fact that Hudson has done all this after sitting out all of last year and not having practiced with UT-Martin while he became NCAA eligible after failing to graduate from his Junior College. He then proceeded to drop 35 points on the best team in America in his first real basketball game. Usually there is an adjustment period that JUCO players need to go through before they are able to reach their full potential at the D-1 level. For Hudson, there was none.

NBA executives might raise some eyebrows when observing the fact that he’s a 23 year-old Junior who did not graduate from high school, as chronicled by an excellent article written by Eric Prisbell of the Washington Post earlier this year. Ohio Valley Conference coaches we spoke to say they have not seen or heard of any red flags that people should be concerned about regarding him, but NBA teams will surely do their own research. Hudson is only a junior as far as his eligibility is concerned, so it’s quite possible that we might see him back at Tennessee Martin for another season. Considering his age (he turns 24 in August), though, it’s not quite clear how much that would help his draft stock. We’ll have to wait and see how things play out.

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