"I just want to play my heart out": The Chronicles of Lester Hudson

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Chronicles of Lester Hudson are a series of interviews with the Celtics' only draft pick, in which we will delve into his past, explore his current situation with Boston, and do a little speculation into his future. Today, we catch up with Lester as he prepares for his first ever NBA training camp.

A little over a week ago, we had our first interview with Lester Hudson. In it, Lester talked about his past and how he felt to be drafted into the Celtics' organization, and gave us a breakdown of his game. Now, as training camp draws nearer, we take a look at how Lester is preparing himself for the upcoming challenges and his mindset as he heads to training camp.

Jay King: What's a typical day for you since you've moved to Waltham [where the Celtics' training facilities are located]?
Lester Hudson: I wake up around 8:30, grab a quick bite to eat and I'm at the training facilities by 8:50 or so. I'm on the court by 9:30, doing drills. First, I'll work on my ballhandling for about 15-20 minutes, getting the feel back in my finger and getting ready to handle NBA pressure.

After that, I do some work spot-shooting, shooting off the dribble (mostly one-dribble pullup jumpers and up-fake one-dribble pullups), coming off the pick-and-roll, some fast break drills, working on my NBA three-point range, just a lot of different drills every day. Those will last until about 10:30, when I go to do some defensive drills with the other young guys on the team.

When we're done with those, at around 11:00, we go play about 4 or 5 games of pickup with all the guys on the team. Most days we run 5-on-5, but sometimes we go 4-on-4. After the pickup games are done, I go to lift weights and then I'll go back and take a shower, maybe take a nap. Three to four times a week I'll then come back later to get some extra shots up, just working on extending my range, getting better consistency on my shot, and shooting off the dribble. The NBA three-point arc is a long way away, but I feel I've gotten it down and I'm starting to shoot the ball really well.

How do you feel about the way you've been playing so far?
Really good. I know I can play at this level, and I'm confident I can produce. I'm a new guy so I know I am going to make mistakes, but that's okay. What I have to do is just keep learning from those mistakes, keep getting better every day. I'm just trying to take in everything I can from everybody I can. From last year's rookies to KG, they've all played more in the NBA than I have, they all know more than I do, so I'm just trying to soak it all in.

I'm full of confidence, but sometimes I've been too passive. Playing with the Big Three and all these other guys, you know you can just give them the ball and get out of the way, and something good will probably happen. But you have to stay aggressive, you have to make sure the defense plays you to make it easier for everybody else. And the guys all tell me when I'm too passive, when I should take a shot or make a play rather than just swing the ball.

As a rookie, you can't come in and just shoot, shoot, shoot. I'm going to take open shots, make plays when the defense is a bit off-balance, and just do whatever I can to help this team.

What has impressed you most about the other players?
Just the way they're looking to help you out, and how much they compete. Everybody's trying to help you out, nobody's trying to push you in the wrong direction, both on and off the floor. Everybody's been giving me advice on the court, helping me with reading plays and stuff, and they tell me to keep playing hard, stay humble, make shots and make plays every day. They tell me that as long as I do that, everything will work out for me.

It's hard to choose what player impresses me the most, because there are so many good players on a championship team like ours. But everybody has impressed me with how hard they compete. Everybody is out there competing, trying to work hard, fighting for everything. When we play pickup, we sometimes have one of our managers play because we don't have enough. Even then, guys are going after the manager like he's Paul or Ray or KG. It doesn't matter who any of these guys play against, they're going to be out on that court battling to win. There's no such thing as lackadaisical with these guys.

Training camp is less than a week away. What's your mindset going into the camp?
I'm very excited. I'm ready to show everybody that I can play, run a team, and learn the offense. My biggest task is going to be learning the plays, watching Rajon Rondo and learning everything he does. I need to learn how to execute the best way I can, so I'm just going to watch Rajon a lot and listen to everything the coaching staff has to say.

I just want to play my heart out. Everybody's excited, we all just want to compete against each other; everybody loves to compete. We want to go to war with each other, and you gain the trust in each other to compete against other team's while you're competing against yourselves. We all just want a ring, and I'm trying to come in, play hard and try to learn something. As you know, it's my first training camp, so I'm really excited to see what it's going to be like.

I know you played a lot of shooting guard in college. Do you feel you'll be used mostly as a point guard with the Celtics, and how do you feel about that?
Yeah, I think I'll be used mostly as a PG. I think if I did play the two, it'd be if I really had it going and they wanted to keep me in with Rondo on the floor.

I'm starting to feel really comfortable playing point guard and setting up other people to score rather than doing all the scoring myself. I know people are going to sag off me and dare me to make plays because I'm a rookie, so I just have to stay ready to knock down shots and make plays. Another thing about me as a point guard is I think a lot of people saw my scoring numbers last year and didn't realize how good a passer I am. I think everybody will learn I'm a much better passer than a lot of people expected.

Any update on the contract talks?
Not recently. We should be talking soon, and hopefully it will be positive. I think I've got a really good chance. The Celtics have told me they might bring in another point guard or two – probably a veteran – so I just have to go out there and prove myself to be the best option the Celtics have. I have a whole lot of confidence in my game that I'll be able to outplay any veteran they might bring in.


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