Hudson brings strength to men’s basketball


Heather Stewart

Guard Zellie Hudson post-practice.

Dez Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California is nationally recognized as one of the best high school basketball programs on the west coast. It has produced many professional basketball players over the years, and 18-year-old CWU freshman guard Zellie Hudson is hoping to add to that list.

Hudson led the Westchester Comets to a 30-6 record in his senior season, which earned the team a trip to the California Interscholastic Federation Championship Tournament. There, he was awarded all-state, all-area, all-league and all-city honors after averaging more than 15 points per game in his last three high school seasons. At the conclusion of his senior year, Hudson had a tough decision to make. Cal Baptist University, CWU, University of California San Diego and a few other schools were all on his list of options for where to go next.

“I didn’t really know where I was going,” Hudson said. “Coach Rinta came and he was pursuing me hard. It was hard to say no. I wanted to go somewhere where I’m wanted.”

The combination of academic and athletic success is something many schools want for their basketball programs. Standing at 6-feet-5, Hudson was not only an honor roll student throughout high school, but also one of the most consistent players on the court at Westchester. Being able to guard different positions while taking pride in his defense is one of his many strengths, according to Rinta. This versatility has set him up nicely moving into the next chapter of his life.

Helping him make the decision was his father, Zellie Hudson III. His father played at UC-Santa Barbara and Colorado State-Pueblo College. Now, he gets to watch his son continue his basketball career at CWU, over 1,000 miles away from where he grew up.

“Being able to say that I played under Azzam was a really cool experience,” Hudson said. “Him being one of the most winning basketball high school coaches ever, it’s amazing and I’m lucky to have the experience.”

Hudson goes from Ed Azzam to Brandon Rinta, two very successful coaches that have a passion for the game of basketball. Knowing how hard it can be to start fresh, Hudson says he is loving the look of the new group of guys, and admits that he has high hopes for the upcoming season.

“I believe we’re going to win the GNAC, it’s not a question. I know we’re going to fight,” Hudson said. “I’m trying to make it to the NCAA division 2 tournament. I’m trying to win that.”

Hudson believes playing against some of the top recruited high school players in the country has better prepared him for the next level. According to Coach Rinta, one of the main factors that will be important for Hudson to focus on is being patient enough to allow the game to slow down for him.

“It can be a challenge from high school to any level of college athletics,” Rinta said.

Off the court, Hudson will look to pursue a degree in biology. With a strong interest in science, he wants to find a way to apply it to his life after basketball.

“I know that basketball is going to stop bouncing at some time. As hard as that is to admit, I know it is,” Hudson said. “I know that I can do something else after that to make sure I can take care of my family.”

Hudson emphasized that the guys on the team have already been able to build a brotherhood. Being one of ten new faces on the team, Hudson is hoping to leave his mark on the team this year and the years to follow.

“I’m going to give everything I have,” Hudson said. “I’ll die for this game.”