Presley Hudson returns to court 23 minutes after tough conference loss, displays resilience
Emerging from the locker room, Presley Hudson entered a nearly vacant McGuirk Arena with her headphones laced underneath her warmup shirt, appearing again near her collar and blaring music into her ears.
Just 37 points away from breaking Central Michigan's all-time program scoring record, Hudson was 23 minutes removed from her worst performance of the 2018-19 season.
In CMU's 70-67 loss to Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 16, the senior guard went 0-for-5 from 3-point range and was held to 10 points. She turned the ball over six times.
That same night, 1,380 seconds after a difficult Mid-American Conference defeat, Hudson was back in the gym. She stayed for 40 minutes and left with sweat dripping down her forehead.
"I wasn't happy with how I played," Hudson said. "Basketball is a way I get my frustration out. I worked on shots I missed in the game."
Sue Guevara, in her 39th-year coaching college ball, said the only other player she's mentored that did something similar to Hudson was DeWanna Bonner at Auburn from 2005-09. Bonner currently plays for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA.
"If you ask any coach across the country in any sport, when one of your best players is your hardest worker, you can't ask for much more – except for her to take a day off," Guevara said. "It's Presley. She's determined not to have a repeat performance."
Hudson began shooting at the right corner, baseline extended. Swish.
The noise of the net was thunderous compared to the atmospheric state of the gym. There was not a soul in sight besides the cleanup crew and, of course, Hudson.
Five minutes in, Central Michigan Athletic Director Michael Alford walked through while Hudson made her way to the left short corner. He patted Hudson on the back. She acknowledged his support but continued shooting.
Shortly after, first-year team manager Todd Jones walked in and began rebounding for Hudson, a favor she appreciated.
Eighteen minutes into the post-game session, video coordinator Carter McCullen strolled into the gym. Hudson received a phone call from her sister 120 seconds following McCullen's appearance.
Hudson's music stopped playing. She took her iPhone to the scorers table, declined the call, put her device on silent and went back to work.
"When I'm shooting, nothing's going through my mind," Hudson added. "My music stopped and I didn't feel like fixing it. I was just trying to get better for the next game. I wasn't happy."
Guevara said Hudson took the loss personally, as she was unable to do what she does best – shoot from downtown and take care of the ball.
McCullen, who went back into the women's basketball office to work on video footage from the game, reoccured 26 minutes into Hudson's session. He played defense while Jones continued rebounding and passing.
"I was honored," Jones said. "To witness her constantly shoot no matter the results shows she wants to be a great player and a leader."
Eventually, McCullen took over for Jones as Hudson moved around the 3-point line. Forty minutes after entering the quiet gym, she finished with free throws and headed for the exit.
Once Hudson departed, McGuirk Arena was finally empty.
Hudson currently holds multiple program records, including 43 points in a game. She's also the all-time assist (545) and 3-point field goal (353) leader.
“I’m not satisfied,” Hudson said. “I came here wanting to leave my mark.”
To get Hudson to take a day off is like pulling teeth, Guevara said while smiling. She's proven her resilience, hard-work mentality and leadership through time spent in the gym.
"I've been here every single day that girl is putting up shots," McCullen stated. "I've never met a harder worker. For me, it means I have a small role, but it's needed. Honestly, it just makes it worth it because she cares that much.
"It all pays off."