Sure, we have our favorites. There are players who we enjoy watching endlessly, the mid-major stars who have stood in this space for the past five years and have gone on to great and lucrative levels. The next one in that class could be the 6-2 senior guard from a little school in the Tennessee backlands who has received three of these mentions this season, who's lifted his team from obscurity to strong contention for a 2009 NCAA Tournament spot. Lester Hudson is our eighth
and now 13th Mid-Majority Baller of the Week for the 2008-09 season.
We didn't have to tip the scales, employ confirmation bias or use questionable methods to come to this decision. Mr. Hudson really did have the best week of any mid-major player last week. He started with a 30 point, 10 rebound double-double on sorta-national television last Thursday at Austin Peay in our G!O!T!N! -- he shot 8 for 25, but hit 11 of 12 free throws to eclipse his season scoring average and lead the Skyhawks to an overtime win over the league champs
. But his best single-game performance of the year came on Saturday. Against a deflated Tennessee State squad playing its first game with an interim coach
, the Memphis native exploded for 34 points on 13-for-27 shooting, hit four 3's and came within two assists of a triple-double with eight assists in a blowout 27-point win
The two-game swing came after a 12-day break that came about when a Jan. 28 game at Murray State was postponed due to weather, and of course, this all happened in the Skyhawks' snappy dark blue jerseys, pictured above. After losing its first two OVC games away from home in December, Martin's eight game win streak contains five road victories, and the team is now just a half-game behind Morehead State for first place at 9-3. Now, five of their last seven are at Skyhawk Arena, giving UTM a great chance to pull a top seed for the league tourney; it also gives what few home fans there are plenty of time to get one last glimpse of a future pro. (Our Bally contest of the week, which will be announced tomorrow, will also feature him -- so this is just part of the saturation bombing campaign.)
This 64-point week drew him to within a single point of national scoring leader Stephen Curry
, who's averaging 28.7 ppg to the Skyhawk star's 27.7. And while his assist-to-turnover ratio would be a lot better if he'd just stop slashing to the hole and scoring all those damn points
, we're closely monitoring his 1.1:1 mark, which is just off last year's 1.2:1; that's what scouts have told us he needs to improve. But between now and NBA Pre-Draft Camp, he's got a lot of stats to put up and some potential NCAA glory to grab. Congratulations on a great week, Mr. Hudson, our MId-Majority Baller of the Week.