The Rockets’ draft night includes the addition of the two-time Division II Player of The Year.
Following a delightful draft haul that includes the arrivals of Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason and TyTy Washington Jr. to H-Town, the Houston Rockets eventful evening of roster additions wasn’t over. As it is customary that teams load up on undrafted free agents the second that the draft is over, the Rockets quickly snatched up Division II’s Trevor Hudgins out of Northwest Missouri State.
Who are the Rockets getting in Hudgins?
Hudgins, a two-time Player of the Year, and one of, if not the most decorated Division II players of all-time, figures to get an opportunity to earn a roster spot, as he will likely split time between the Rockets and their G-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
If I’m being fully transparent, I had to do my research on Hudgins once I learned of the pickup, but after reading more into him, I like taking a flyer on him. It’s a low-risk move on a guy that has built himself up to have a great pedigree.
Over his four years at NW Missouri State, Hudgins posted incredible shooting splits of .517/.465/.878 (FG/3PT/FT). Although these were against a lower class of talent, it’s still impressive that he was able to do this at only 6’0” while leading his Bearcats to three titles.
On top of his great shooting, he pitched in 20-plus points per game as well as five assists. If he can show that he can hold his own on the defensive end, even with his shorter stature, he has a legitimate case to hold a roster spot.
Can he make the team?
The opportunity to find playing time for him is going to be tough considering that the likes of Kevin Porter Jr., Washington Jr. and Daishen Nix are already slotted ahead of him. However, with COVID-19 still playing a factor, Hudgins’ chance may come sooner than later.
For Hudgins, training camp and time with the Vipers should give him the opportunity to further prove himself as a viable guy worthy of being on an NBA roster. The path ahead will certainly be tough given that there hasn’t been many guys from the D-II level or lower that have successfully been able to stay in the league.
That being said, it is worth looking into today’s NBA players that started at a lower collegiate division and transferred up to Division I. Consider that the Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson started in D-III and ended up with a $90 million contract last offseason. Miami’s Max Strus and the Boston Celtics’ Derrick White also sprung up from D-II and now are valuable contributors to championship contenders.
For Hudgins, these players who started at smaller schools and then developed in the G-League should be the template he follows.
Welcome to H-Town, Trevor. We’re all wishing you the best of luck!