Victor Rudd stood in an empty tunnel by his team’s locker room after playing one of the best games of his career amidst an 80-54 USF loss at No. 11 Louisville on Tuesday.
He stood there waiting his turn to walk down a dark corridor, enter the media room and answer questions about the Bulls’ performance and his, a season-high 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. Airing on the center court video board at the KFC Yum! Center was Rick Pitino’s press conference.
Towards the end of the question-answer session, the Naismith Hall of Fame coach was asked the performance of Rudd, a player Pitino has prepared his team to defend four times over the past three years. Pitino answered the question at length while the senior from Los Angeles gazed up at the video and took mental notes.
“Victor Rudd is the type of basketball player that the pros like. He is long, athletic and only going to get better. Guys like that, love that type of athleticism. He needs to go left better, he needs to offensive rebound more. He needs to get inside more. You saw Montrezl (Harrell), we ran a low post play, and what does he do, he took a turnaround 18-foot jump shot right. What the pros want to see is get in that low post, go to your jump hook, turn over your shoulder, and take that. They have a lot of guys that can make fade away 18 footers, and it’s the same with Rudd. He is terrific on the perimeter, so he needs to get in there, and dominate the interior with some offensive moves. Every power forward in college wants to be a small forward, every small forward wants to be a two guard, and every center wants to be a power forward, but they don’t realize what the pros look for, they just listen to people.”
“I always tell the story of Rodrick Rhodes, a great young man, great defender, great slasher, great passer, terrific low post player, and was a first round draft choice, and what did he want to do, just shoot threes. Just to show everybody that he could shoot threes. He did seven things awesome, but he would get in the game, and want to shoot threes, and that is what Rudd has got to learn to do. He has just go to dominate the paint more, and then everyone is going to say, ‘Wow, he can do it all.’ I hope he makes it, because he is quite an athlete.”
Rudd was impressive in front the former NBA coach/president/general manager as well as three NBA scouts in attendance, showing his athleticism, jumping ability (three dunks) and versatility (1-for-4 from 3-point range). The 27 points scored was the most in a double-double for Rudd, who has six this season and 15 in his career.
Rudd’s scoring average increased to 15.3 points per game, ninth in the American Athletic Conference while he ranks eighth with 6.8 rebounds per game. Rudd also gained attention recently for his dunking ability. In consecutive Saturday’s, Rudd’s dunks were impressive enough to be the No. 1 play SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the day.
The Bulls (12-15, 3-11) remain one game out of the sixth place in the conference behind Houston (12-13, 4-8) and Rutgers (10-16, 4-9). The top six seeds receive a first-round bye in the the American Athletic Conference Championships held March 12-15 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn.
Four games remain on the regular season schedule with USF’s next game coming on Wednesday, Feb. 26 against No. 21 UConn at 7 p.m. at the Sun Dome.
SOURCE: USF Athletics