|Hudson: I Learned A Lot||01.10.10 at 1:22 am ET|
Consider it an accelerated learning program.
In less than seven months, Lester Hudson received a hands-on education from one of the most talented basketball organizations in the NBA. He practiced against future Hall of Famers, received coaching from former pros, and learned the ropes behind an emerging All-Star.
The rookie gained more knowledge in a few short months than some players do in an entire season.
Now Hudson, who was waived by the Celtics last Wednesday, looks forward to applying what he learned from the C’s on to the court for the Grizzlies. The Memphis native was claimed off of waivers by his hometown team on Friday.
“I was very sad, very sad when the Celtics let me go,” he told WEEI.com in a telephone interview. “But I’m very happy to play back in my hometown.”
Hudson looks forward to sharing his experiences with the young Grizzlies squad, whose average age is 24 years old. Not only did he learn from veterans such as Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, he also formed a close bond with one of the hottest young point guards in the league today.
“I learned a lot from (Rajon) Rondo,” he said. “He’s my best friend on the team I’d say, so I learned a lot. He’s a great point guard. I think he’ll be an All-Star this year, so it was great playing behind him, learning how he ran the floor, ran the offense, and got everyone in position. That was my biggest thing coming in as a point guard, learning how to run an NBA team, and he helped me out with that.”
Hudson also received proven advice from the Celtics coaching staff. Both head coach Doc Rivers and director of basketball development Tyronn Lue are former NBA point guards. Hudson worked closely with Lue during practice.
“It was great having Ty Lue there,” he said. “He was a great point guard in the NBA and he taught me how to be aggressive, coming off the pick-and-roll, stuff like that, just trying to make the plays for the other guys. He helped me out a lot.”
Many of the Celtics have reached out to Hudson since he was waived, including Rondo and Marquis Daniels. Lue and assistant coach Mike Longabardi have contacted him as well.
Hudson does not harbor any ill will toward the team that selected him with the 58th pick in the 2009 NBA draft. He averaged just 4.4 minutes in 16 games for the Celtics and had also spent time in the D-League. Hudson understood the Celtics decision to waive him before they would have had to guarantee his contract.
“They said it was a hard decision,” he said. “They didn’t want to do that, but they were trying to get some room for the team if they needed a veteran point guard to come in for the playoffs, and I understood that. They said I was going to be in the NBA and just keep working hard.”
Hudson’s career in Boston may have been cut short, but he didn’t need long with the Celtics to gain invaluable lessons that he can share with his new teammates in Memphis.
“I can tell them just to work hard,” he said. “Because that’s why [the Celtics are] one of the best in the NBA right now.”
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