Hudson, a 6-1, 164-pound guard from Carbondale, Ill., was the Southern Illinois Player of the Year as a senior after averaging 25 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals at Carbondale Community High. He was named all-state as a junior and senior.
He only played 2 games for MU. In the Tigers' season-opening victory over Chicago State, Hudson played 17 minutes and scored 10 points. In a victory over Purdue in the seaon's second game, he went scoreless in three minutes of action. He got suspended for the Arkansas game for missing class and practice, and basically just never returned.
Stewart said Hudson was upset about playing time.
``You've got to look at both sides,'' Stewart said. ``A young man comes from high school, and he's played a lot of basketball and he's got a lot of
freedom, and he's usually the best player on the team if not always the best player on the team. Then he gets to college, and on our level he's another
player that was a best player on a team."
``Now you've got to make an adjustment along with all the other adjustments. When you don't get to play as much or you don't do this or something else
happens to you, then you've got to go through that. There's pressure from your hometown. All kinds of things happen to you. I think that's what Troy Hudson's run into.''
Story ran on December 11, 1994
Not so long ago, they were the stars.
Now they are far from home, living on their own and calling the end of the
When MU freshman Troy Hudson quit the team, it served as a reminder that
sometimes freshmen basketball players aren't happy with life as college
athletes. Not only are they dealing with the same pressure as the rest of the
university's freshmen, but they also face the additional strain of playing
basketball in the public eye.
The fame that goes with the Missouri uniform -- the 12th man is probably more
recognizable than MU chancellor Charles Kiesler -- has its price.
``You're in the spotlight, you're watched under a microscope, everything you
do,'' said Monte Hardge, a 6-foot-11 freshman from Jefferson City. ``You can't
do anything wrong.
``That's a lot of pressure. Especially somebody like me, 18 years old. I'm
just now leaving home, and being under such pressure, it ain't easy. I've had
times when I've said, `I can't take it any more.' But you've got to stick in
All Missouri's remaining freshmen -- Hardge, Kendrick Moore and Scott Combs --
joined the team with impressive high school credentials. Nobody cares what
they did in high school now, however.
``That's pretty much how it is,'' Moore said. ``Now I'm just a star among
Moore, a 6-foot-2 guard, was Connecticut's player of the year after averaging
27 points and eight rebounds as a senior at Hartford Public High. Hardge was
Missouri's player of the year after averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds as a
senior. Combs, a 6-7 forward, was a two-time all-state pick at Paoli, Ind.,
and averaged 21.6 points and 12.7 rebounds as senior.
Their roles have been limited early for the 4-1 Tigers, but all have played.
Moore has fit in most quickly, averaging five points and 2.5 assists. He has
played 15 minutes per game and started against Southeast Missouri State.
Hardge was slowed early by a head injury he suffered in preseason practice. He
missed the first two games with the injury and then missed the Southeast
Missouri State game because of a psychology test. Hardge has scored just one
point, but did get some meaningful minutes against Arkansas and blocked one of
All-American Corliss Williamson's shots.
Combs has gotten most of his playing time late in games long-since decided.
His best game was the opener when he played 10 minutes and scored five points
against Chicago State.
Combs, like the other freshmen, has a realistic outlook towards playing time.
``In my hometown they realize I dominated in my area and the state actually,
and they always say, `Well you'll get a chance to play,' '' Combs said. ``I
always tell them there are all kinds of players going to Missouri that are
There is the typical freshmen doubt. Can I play at this level? Will all my
faults be exposed to a national television audience? Does Dick Vitale regard
me as a Diaper Dandy?
MU coach Norm Stewart said he tries to make the basketball court a haven for
the new players.
``What we try to do with the freshmen -- and we've had a lot of outstanding
freshmen who have played a lot -- is try to keep them in a position where they
don't feel any pressure as far as the team, being counted on to carry loads
and all that,'' Stewart said. ``We want them to understand they're very
important to the ballclub, but we try to keep them in the most relaxed
Off the court, Hardge, Moore and Combs have the standard freshmen problems.
Homesickness is a big one, although Hardge has less of a problem because he
lives with his brothers, Steve and Matt Martin, and is close to home anyway.
Moore and Combs, on the other hand, can't hop in the car with a basket of
dirty laundry and visit mom and dad.
Time management is also a concern. Combs still carries a daily planner that
tells him where to be every hour of every day. Between classes, study halls,
practices and games, not much time is left over to just enjoy being at
``That's what we always talk about -- no free time at all,'' Moore said.
``Once you get home, you're worn out. It's only about 7:30, but you're worn
Which is not to say college basketball is all work and no fun. They get a
chance to play the game they love. That's why freshmen players become
``There's a lot of pressure, but when you come to a big university like this,
you've got to expect that,'' Hardge said. ``It comes with the territory.''