Kristian Hudson’s not one to try and draw attention away from her teammates. She went through Senior Day this past Saturday with three other Huskers who have been key pieces of head coach Amy Williams’ Nebraska program since she took over, and it’d probably be easy to overlook her and the contributions she’s made over the last two years.
Easy, but unfair.
“Her perspective of the game and her basketball IQ is out of this world,” said point guard Hannah Whitish. “To have her on your team and to have her in your ear all the time, it’s so great to have her basketball mind.
“She knows all the right things about this game.”
A Birmingham, Alabama native, Hudson has appeared in 18 games this season, playing only an average of five minutes a night. She’s averaging less than a point a game, but over the last two years, it seems her contributions have been needed in other areas.
Nebraska has scoring punch in guards like Sam Haiby and Leigha Brown and playmaking from Whitish. Hudson, though, has been one of the veterans on a team wholly infused with youth for two years in a row now.
In 2019, Nebraska’s roster featured six rotation players in either their first or second year with the program. This season has been the same story. Haiby has become a starter in short order, and though she’s leaned on Whitish for help navigating playing both off the ball and on, it would be safe to say Hudson has taught her a few things too.
In two years in Lincoln, she’s had her share of adversity, namely a broken foot suffered during the 2018-19 year that cost her nearly the entire year, but before coming she was a standout player. Hudson starred at Florida International for her first three years. In her junior season with the team, she averaged around 15 points a game to go with five boards and five assists. She earned her bachelor’s degree from FIU in her first three seasons and took a graduate transfer to get to Nebraska.
She wants to coach. Once this 2019-20 season ends, Hudson will go to the Final Four to participate in the “So You Want to Be a Coach” convention put on by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
“She has a very inquisitive mind, and she’s always asking questions,” Williams said of Hudson. “Because of that, she has a very high basketball IQ. The best thing about her on this staff and this particular team is just that sometimes in a timeout huddle, I’ll spend the whole time talking about this, this, this, and this, and then at the very end when we’re getting the huddle out, she’ll say ‘Coach are we still in 21 defense?’
“She’ll ask questions around our team that I’m pretty sure she already knows the answer to, but she just wants to make sure everybody else hears me say it. I just think that ability to have a feel and a sense for what your team needs, it’s pretty instinctive with her and I think she’s going to be really good at it.”
Hudson has two games guaranteed left in her playing career. Nebraska (17-11, 7-10 Big Ten) plays Indiana on the road on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 5 p.m. CT, in its final regular-season game. The Big Ten tournament begins in roughly a week, and while there are still a few things to be decided in terms of seeding, Nebraska will be hovering around the 10-seed.
Probably won’t see Hudson much as Nebraska looks to salvage a season that started so promising and has sputtered down the stretch, but she’ll be savoring these final games all the same.
“When I’ll look back on Nebraska, I’ll think of the sports environment, whether that’s a football game, a basketball game, or a volleyball game. When I think about this team, I’ll think of just fun individuals, I’ll think of just heart and fight and what we’ve been through these last two years.”
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.