New all-time scoring leader Presley Hudson remains humble, but teammates boast on her behalf
Presley Hudson has done it all as a member of the Central Michigan women's basketball team.
The star senior broke off a screen set by freshman center Jahari Smith, dribbled to the left wing, shook her defender on a shot fake and pulled up for a deep two-point jumper. Her shot fell through the net to break the CMU all-time scoring record on Jan. 26.
Hudson has poured in 2,023 career points. She also holds the program record for career assists and 3-pointers made.
“She’s meant so much to this program,” said fellow senior Reyna Frost. “We came in with goals, and we wouldn’t have accomplished what we have so far without her.”
While Frost is always quick to brag about Hudson, the 5-foot-6 guard is the opposite when asked to talk about her success.
In fact, Hudson directs all questions away from herself.
That's just the way she is.
It's a byproduct of how she was raised in Wayland, Michigan, a small city 20 miles south of Grand Rapids.
After only two career games for the Chippewas in the 2015-16 season, Hudson was named the College Madness (High-Major) National Player of the Week.
CMU coach Sue Guevara got on the phone with Hudson's father, Mike Hudson, to deliver the news prior to the press release. Mike, the boys varsity basketball coach at Wayland Union High School, didn't have much to say.
"Well, that's nice," Mike said. "Who are we playing next?"
Hudson's brother, Wes Hudson, played at Cornerstone University from 2010-14 and was an NAIA First Team All-American. He scored 2,036 career points and added 412 assists.
Her other brother, Avery Hudson, is currently a sophomore guard on the Division II Davenport men's basketball team. He averages 16.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.
"Mike is one of the best high school coaches in the state of Michigan, but you'd never know it," Guevara said. "He doesn't talk about himself or the wins."
What Guevara most appreciates about Hudson is that she comes from a humble family. Mike, Wes and Avery are the same way – quiet but hungry for success.
In the post-game press conference following Hudson's record-breaking game against Eastern Michigan, she thought back to a goal she set for herself as a freshman.
"It was an accomplishment that I wanted to do when I came into Central as a freshman," Hudson said. "It was nice to be able to accomplish that."
After that comment, her thoughts switched to the next game. Even outside the confines of McGuirk Arena, Hudson refuses to praise herself.
“If you think about the great players, and I don’t care what sport, they don’t talk about themselves because other people talk about them," Guevara said.
To understand the value of Hudson breaking records while remaining humble, her teammates – the people she speaks on the most – shed some light.
Maddy Watters: "She doesn't talk about it much, so I don't know what (breaking the record) means to her. It's a testament to how hard she works. It shows little girls looking up to her that hard work pays off."
Frost: "The crowd knew she broke the record, but she stayed in the game. She knew what she needed to do. After the game, we didn't talk about it until they announced it."
When Hudson made the deep two-point jumper to break the record, Watters was standing in the left corner spotting up for a 3-pointer. Three rows up in the stands sat Hudson's family members, cheering her on as she became the all-time scoring leader.
"I don't know which one it was, but a family member said, 'There it is' when the shot went through," Watters said. "I just knew it was a Hudson."
Watters and Micaela Kelly, two sophomore guards, look up to Hudson and try to follow her path of humility and hard work. Kelly said Hudson's best friend is the basketball court, which sets her apart from others at the college level.
Watters: "She celebrates everybody else but herself. She has great character. Every time we congratulate her, she says, 'Well, thanks to you guys for all this.' It's not just a show out here; she's truly the person she seems like."
Kelly: "If you talked to her, you'd get a short story. She teaches me to work because anything is possible. If I continue to work, that could be me in the future."
For an off-court perspective, Frost, who is Hudson's roommate, delivered an in-depth take that dates back to before the pair became Chippewas.
Frost: "I knew Pres before she even got here. I've been able to see how she grows every single year. Once she got here, she got a lot of recognition but stayed humble. She knows there's still stuff she can improve on."
Hudson wants to play professional basketball, but Frost said she doesn't bring it up. Hudson understands her goals and aspirations, so she never goes on-and-on about them when there's always another game to be played for the Chippewas.
Frost: "Presley and I don't have those kinds of conversations. We talk about different plays that happened during the game. We help each other out and push each other. I love being able to go home and talk about practice with her."
Hudson's other roommate, junior forward MacKenna Kelly, said Hudson's never brought up her own greatness. MacKenna tries to get her to talk about the successes, but Hudson declines each time.
When MacKenna sees something about Hudson on Twitter, she sends it to her over a direct message, saying, "Aw, my roommate is famous." If Hudson responds, which is rare, she says, "Thanks."
Another example is when MacKenna credits Hudson for an excellent performance on the court. Instead of getting into the details of her dominance, she brushes it off – focused on the next opportunity.
MacKenna Kelly: "I see her just about every day. Being someone that lives with her, I have to beg her to stay out of the gym. She's not the player who just says she's in the gym. She's actually always in the gym. No excuses. Coming from a teammate, it's almost like you don't realize the greatness because you're so used to it."
As a freshman, forward Samantha Robinson hopes to someday put her own name in the CMU record book. She's learned from Hudson's demeanor to help turn her dreams into a reality.
Robinson: "Yeah, she won't talk about herself. When I came on my official visit, there was an open gym scrimmage. She was making everything and didn't say anything about herself. That's how she is now. She makes shots from half court and never brags. It just makes everyone want to be more like her. Everyone wants to be that way."
To understand Hudson's combination of success and character, don't ask Hudson. Otherwise, she'll say something that has nothing to do with herself.
"I got that accomplish because of my teammates," Hudson said.