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Monday, October 19th, 2009 at 3:04 pm  |  16 responses

Game Notes: Celtics at Raptors

Hudson’s story is inspiring.

by Ryan McNeill Lester Hudson

Every basketball fans knows about the mental toughness Dwyane Wade has shown on his way to becoming a basketball superstar. Heck, even Kevin Garnett got into the mix last season by talking about his tough childhood into a commercial.

So when is Lester Hudson going to get a chance to tell his story to the masses?

Who is Hudson? Despite having one of the most inspiring sports-related stories since Rudy, few sports fans, let alone basketball fans, know about what he has overcome to earn a roster spot on the Boston Celtics this season. Hudson started playing the game of basketball when he was 18, was forced to sit out his last season of high school basketball due to academic issues and then bounced from a community college to a little known Division I school.

A second round pick is no big deal, right?

Wrong.

During his freshman season at Tennessee-Martin, the talented guard hung 35 points and 10 rebounds on Derrick Rose in front of his family and friends in Memphis. While that would be the highlight of a freshman season for most players, Hudson recorded the first quadruple-double in the history of the NCAA in just his third collegiate game.

“It was a great feeling,” a stoic Hudson said, when asked about this milestone. “I didn’t really think I had it a first. But it’s a very good achievement for me.”

Hudson’s career has continued to pick up momentum since that highly successful freshman season. Last year he nearly beat Stephen Curry for the NCAA scoring title and was drafted in the second round by the Boston Celtics. Despite averaging a pedestrian 5 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist in Orlando this summer before breaking his left index finger, he showed enough promise to warrant Boston’s front office inking him to a guaranteed deal for this season.

After having Division I coaches bail on him due to academic issues, Lester HudsonHudson appreciates an organization finally showing faith in him.

“One thing I know is that I’m blessed because a lot of people who are in my position and go in the second round don’t get a guaranteed deal,” the humble Hudson said. “I just want to keep working hard and showing people I can play.”

Despite the faith the front office has shown in Hudson, when Doc Rivers was asked before whether Lester Hudson could see some minutes this season, he frowned, paused and then spit out an answer Hudson won’t want to hear.

“He’s playing well, he just has to learn,” Rivers admitted. “He’s a great kid and he works his butt off. I think he can be a good defensive player someday. It’s tough because he’s come from being an offensive player and now we’re trying to convince him he’s a defensive player. But I think he can get there one day.”

Not the kind of words that send out a ringing endorsement about the rookie’s chances of earning some burn this season. But what’s a little more adversity to someone who has already overcome so much?

Ryan McNeill is a freelance writer now in his third season covering the Toronto Raptors. Read more of his writing at HOOPSADDICT.com and follow him on Twitter.

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  • Ken

    So how was the game?

  • http://slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    This is more interesting than the game, Ken. I had nightmares last night about Quincy Douby blowing layups and Patrick O’Bryant walking up and down the court in the final five minutes of play.

  • migs

    Agreed – the game was horrible, and just goes to show how far the Raps still have to go. They had several blown defensive plays (one especially annoying one where Garnett flashed to the lane unobstructed, caught a pass and dunked it before Amir Johnson even knew what was going on), and the offense still seemed a bit disjointed. I still have hope for these guys though, but Boston is one of the best teams in the L and they showed it yesterday.

    PS – Anyone else amused by the last quarter? I had no idea Shelden Williams was still around… and speaking of round, Mike Sweetney looked like he at Tractor Traylor

  • migs

    *ate

  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    I was thrilled when the C’s drafted Hudson. Curious to see how/if he contributes down the line, but I think he’s got a shot.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I am not the world’s biggest Celtic fan, but I have to give respect where its due. The Boston Celtics are an absolute joy to watch. The talent level on that team is tremendous and their chemistry is untapped by any other team in the league. The Boston Celtics are also physically the toughest team in the entire NBA right now–along with, I’d say, the Houston Rockets. They’re one of the only teams in the NBA that resembles the hard, toughnosed, 90′s style of basketball. Good luck to them this year.

  • T Money

    He started playing at 18? Amazing.

  • shifty

    Go celtics!

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Great piece by the way. Hudson seems like a cat who can play a role for a lot of teams in the NBA. In last night’s game he only had like 1 FG, but he looked pretty comfortable out there with the ball.

  • http://slamonline.com niQ

    so are these really game notes? i mean, was the game so boring that you had to re-hash the lifestory of one of their players?

  • http://www.hoopsaddict.com/ Ryan

    Thanks for the feedback, even if it’s mixed. I have to confess I’m trying to switch things up and instead of doing a traditional AP style recap I’m hoping to shed light on something that happened in the game or of a player that stood out. For a game between Toronto and Boston there are already a bunch of beat writers covering the game so what’s the point in adding one more recap? I figured that Hudson’s story is one of the more remarkable ones I’ve heard in awhile so I took this time to let basketball fans hear about the struggles he’s overcome.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    ryan, the story in itself is very well written and concise. (that’s a compliment!) why not just call it a profile, though? when i see game notes: raptors-celts, well i’m expecting game notes about the game between the raptors and the celts.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    Actually, I agree with Z. Sorry if I sounded rude. The story is well written and interesting, but yea, when I see games notes that’s what I expected. Perhaps you could open a new thread/section regarding players like these.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Did Lester Hudson really start playing basketball at 18, or just playing organized basketball?
    And, I didn’t really hear what happened in his life that was so terrible besides starting his career late. Was there some other tragedy that is common knowledge that I’m not aware of because i don’t watch college basketball?
    Thanks.

  • that dude

    cosign Allenp… I don’t see the line of thought in this article. You built it up as “one of the most inspiring sports-related stories since Rudy” and then there was nothing. Am I missing something?

  • Collin

    He jsut started playing organized ball at 18 his senior year. What i found more amazing is i went to school with and knew Hudson, and you would never know he was even a decent ball player he is very humble. He also had to pay his way when he first went to school(JUCO Due to grades) and he still made it off the streets of Memphis. Alot of people point to the fact he player at Univ. of Tenn at Martin (tiny) no talent, but he often had to beat three guys always two and he still preformed at a unbelievable level.

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