Hudson looking for consistency, improvement

Sophomore guard Antonio Hudson was definitely an asset to LSU respectable performance last year.<br><br>He just wasn't a consistent one.

In a season of highs and lows for the true freshman in 2001-02, Hudson suffered from lackluster defensive efforts but finished strong offensively, averaging 13.9 points per game over the Tigers' final eleven contests.


His 21-point average in the Tigers' three Southeastern Conference Tournament games garnered him all-tournament honors, the first LSU player to do so in nine years.


"I expect him to be better," LSU head coach John Brady said. "How much better this year? I don't know just yet. I really thought that during the final 12 or 13 games of last year, not only was he the best freshman in the SEC, he was one of the better players in the SEC."


Like many college players, Hudson excelled in high school only to stumble a bit at the collegiate level, where talent and competition increases tenfold.


"It was kind of hard," Hudson said of his transition last year. "I'm coming from an atmosphere where basically I was just called upon to score. I played defense when I had to, but in college you have to play defense every night. You can't take a game off because, no matter who you're up against, they're coming to play and they're trying to win just like you're trying to win."


Inconsistency plagued Hudson last year. He started well but suffered a mid-season slump in which he was held under ten points in eight straight games and went scoreless in three outings. His defense was arguably the weakest part of his game, a point he has worked with great effort to overcome.


"It's always said that defense turns into offense," Hudson aid. "I think now that Jermaine (Williams) — who was our main defensive player — has left, I want to be the one that coach Brady calls on to stop the next run.


"…I need to be more consistent. Last year, I was up and down, I'd be here one game and there another. If I can become more consistent, I think I'll be all right."


With the wealth of talent that the Tigers have amassed at the guard position, Hudson will need all the improvement he can muster in order to record as many minutes on the floor as he'd like. However, he believes that the deep roster at his position will only help him — and his team — in the long run.


"Starting doesn't matter to me as long as we're winning," he said. "I can't wait for the competition. Last year we were limited, but now we have to go in and practice hard every day. Every day somebody's coming out to get your position, so nothing is guaranteed. I'm just going out to do what I can do and perform my best."


The fierce competition that the LSU players have amongst themselves will only lead to improved players, and more of them — a boon for a team that has suffered through season after season of NCAA scholarship sanctions that forced Tiger starters to play long stretches without the hope of competent substitutions.


"(With a good bench) you don't have to play the whole game," said Hudson, who started 16 of the Tigers' 34 games. "Somebody can come in for you and the team won't miss a beat. You can play hard for a good five or ten minutes and get taken out and not lose anything.


"You can win some games with limited players. But if you want to win a lot of games, you have to be deep because everybody else out there is deep. You want to have that advantage.


"We're going to be a complete team," Hudson summarized. "We have good guards, good forwards and excellent posts. …If you're limited at some positions, you can have a good team but not a great team. I feel that we can be great if we just stay together, play as a team, depend on each other and not let outside influences get in our way, we can be a great team."

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