Lebo: "Hudson Can Do It All"

Lester Hudson, the nation's second leading scorer, leads the UT-Martin Skyhawks into Beard-Eaves on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Auburn, Ala.—UT-Martin, Auburn's opening round opponent in the NIT on Wednesday, is led by one of the top basketball players in the country in 6-2, 190-pound shooting guard Lester Hudson.

The senior from Memphis is averaging 27.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.4 steals. Hudson transferred to UT-Martin from Southwest Tennessee Community College prior to the 2007-2008 season, and in just his third game against Central Baptist College he recorded the first ever quadruple-double in NCAA history with 25 points, 12 boards, 10 assist and 10 steals.

"Lester Hudson can do it all," Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo says. "He can score from the perimeter, he can take the ball to the basket, he's strong, he's a very good passer, he's terrific in transition. What he does, he does every night against special defenses and he still does it.

"His basketball IQ is at another level," Lebo continues. "He's just a terrific player. I'd put him up there with the top two guards in our league, or any league. He can just flat-out play. He'll certainly be worthy of being a first or second round draft pick."

Playing against some top-level teams as a junior, Hudson recorded 36 points, nine rebounds and six assists versus Vanderbilt, had 35 and 10 against national runner-up Memphis and 27 points, 11 boards against Mississippi State.

Hudson had 20 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals in a 91-64 loss at Tennessee in November. In the quarter-finals of the Ohio Valley Conference he recorded 42 points, nine rebounds and six assists against Tennessee Tech, a team Lebo coached before moving to UT-Chattanooga, the college he left to take the job at Auburn.

"I'm familiar with their program and their coach (Bret Campbell) having coached in that league for a while," says Lebo, who was twice OVC Coach of the Year. "They have just a terrific player, an NBA player, one of the best scoring guards in the country in Lester Hudson. You can certainly put him in a category with two good shooting guards in our league in Jodie Meeks and Marcus Thornton."

Hudson was named OVC player of the week seven times as a senior, leading the Skyhawks to the regular season conference championship, an automatic bid into the NIT, and a 22-9 record heading in Wednesday night's game.

"A lot revolves around him," Lebo says. "They defend very well. They're very athletic and they're really good in transition pushing the basketball."

Auburn, which hoped to be in the NCAA tournament, was rewarded with the No. 1 seed in one of the quadrants against No. 8 UT-Martin. Should Auburn advance, the winner of No. 4 Tulsa and No. 5 Northwestern would also visit Beard-Eaves.

"It is big," Lebo says of getting the No. 1 seed and home court advantage all the way until the Final 4. "Hopefully, we can build some momentum. Playing at home, if we can get a good crowd out here, certainly will be beneficial to us. You look at teams now and most of the teams playing in postseason have the ability to win on the road. Looking at Martin, they have nine road wins this year."

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday with no television coverage.


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