On Saturday, I drove down from St. Louis to see Tennessee-Martin play Tennessee Tech. It was no six-hour journey, and things weren't too much different from the last time I came down, but I definitely encountered a Ben From Cincinnati Effect there at the Elam Center. The staff told me that his guest post from January had been circulated among the athletic department, and that greeting and concession procedures had been updated and upgraded since then. As always, TMM takes its role as a conduit for change very seriously.
It surprised me how many readers are there at UTM. A number of folks knew all about the multiple MMBOW nods for senior guard Lester Hudson, a man who's inspired pilgrimages to Martin by scouts representing 29 NBA teams. They also asked me how the nickname contest was going. When I talked to Lester (a man who goes by "Lester" or "Les") after the game, he said, "Man, I need one." The closest he had, he told me, was "Agent 5," which a few friends called him for fun. Since he's just a few years away from dribbling circles around Gilbert Arenas, we need to do better than that.
I was hoping to run a few of the best entries of the 64 (!) possible nicknames we received by Lester, and put them on my BlackBerry notetaking service beforehand. But it's tough to get a clear signal out in Martin, Tenn.. I let him know that he'll have total veto power over anything we choose. And remember, the winning nominator wins the greatest prize available in Hoops Nation, a stuffed Bally.
This first one from Miles has a classic old-school feel.
Kyle, I'm giving Lester Hudson the nickname "The Memphis Miracle." You read about Hudson's past and you realize that it truly is a miracle of where he is in life right now. He grew up in a rough neighborhood of Memphis. Had a tough time academically in high school. Pulled things together to play JUCO ball and then earned a Division I scholarship. Sounds pretty miraculous to me. To top it off, he's also a pretty darn good basketball player. Lester Hudson: The Memphis Miracle.
Brian suggests a more global nickname that we think would sound fantastic coming from the golden throat of Bill Raftery.
"Worldwide Les" is my nomination for Lester Hudson's nickname. He's got the game that launched 5 hour trips, he's putting Tennessee-Martin on the map, and he's making people forget Nick Fazekas, incidentally last seen in France. Most importantly though, he's about to take his game global. Worldwide Les.
Chris mixed up the letters and came up with a triple word score. And he added a very wordsmithy poem as well. By the end of the season, we should have enough guest poetry and prose about Lester Hudson to publish a book.
My proposed nickname for Lester Hudson is an anagram of his name: Done Ruthless.
Oh Lester Hudson, Slasher and scorer at will Pride of Tennessee Play for small crowds, though with NBA potential you carry your team Almost eight rebounds and near twenty eight points averaged in a game Lift your team up high, score and be victorious, all done ruthlessly
I just ordered the complete DVD set of The Wire from Amazon, and am planning to sit through the whole thing once the season ends. I've never seen a second of the show, but people keep telling me it's the bestshowever, so I don't know yet if Dan's entry is decent, appropriate or just plain awesome.
How about "Cool Lester Smooth"? It makes sense with the way he plays the game (especially the way he scores).
Beau's picked up on our New York Times style of naming conventions in our MMBOW posts, and took it a step further.
Lester Hudson of UT-Martin is a man Among the boys of the OVC. If he takes the Skyhawks to the Big Dance, you will know him as Mister Hudson.
But you may to choose to abstain from this vote altogether. Consider the words of Matt Maxey from the UT Martin athletic communication office, a brilliant mind as well as the premier volleyblogger in the OVC. "I was chatting with one of the assistants [after Saturday's game] and he said that down on the playgrounds in Memphis players like Lester don't get nicknames. 'If you are good and a local legend you get a nickname but if you are great and can take on anyone then you are just Lester, kinda like Madonna, only-one-name-needed kind of great.'"