Dudley a Unique Player and Young Man
Jared Dudley is the antithesis of the modern day athlete, especially in basketball and even more so among the elite players. That holds true more than you might think.
In an age when most top players at the forward spot are elite athletes, Dudley won’t have anyone drooling over his athleticism. In an age where basketball fundamentals seem to be less emphasized among young players, Dudley is as fundamentally sound as they come. In an age when many top players at a BCS conference school came into college with big-time reputations, Dudley was lightly recruited. And whereas a number of players and coaches have a seemingly adversarial relationship with the media, the native of San Diego has always been just the opposite: a great interview because he doesn’t talk from a script. He’s very engaging, tells it to you as he feels and lets out some of his real personality in doing so.
Dudley’s accomplishments at The Heights are many. We won’t run them all down, but among the highlights are that he will finish his career with two first-team all-conference selections (one in the Big East and one in the ACC), is ten points shy of becoming the sixth Eagle to score 2,000 points and could reach the top five all-time in scoring, and recently became the school’s all-time leader in career minutes played. He’s also earned the admiration of a number of opposing coaches like Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.
Most important of all, he’s part of a senior class that is a win away from becoming the winningest class in school history, and they are on the verge of becoming the first ever to reach the NCAA Tournament all four years.
That’s not bad for a young man whose only Division I offers at the end of his senior year of high school were from St. Mary’s, Creighton and San Diego State (very late). It’s not bad for a young man who decided to come to The Heights just two weeks before the start of his freshman year when he was all set to go to prep school in Connecticut.
As amazing as it might seem, Dudley always knew he would get to this point. Even as a 6’2″ high school sophomore who didn’t play much for some of that season, he knew what his basketball destiny was.
“I knew when I was younger that I would go to the NBA,” he reflects. “It was my goal, it was something that was instilled in me. Even being under-rated and overlooked, I just knew, when I went up against the best players and especially coming out of high school, I was right there with them.”
By the end of his sophomore year, Dudley had become a starter and helped his team make a deep run in the postseason. He got his chance because two players got suspended, which makes it only fitting that his chance at BC came about in part because two players had been dismissed from the program not long before he visited the school and decided to attend.
He had grown to about 6’5″ by the beginning of his senior year, and after good junior and senior years was still lightly recruited. It wasn’t until late in the spring and summer after his senior year that everything changed, as his AAU team twice beat the much-hyped Atlanta Celtics (with a frontline of Dwight Howard, Josh Smith and Randolph Morris) for championships and he had an excellent showing at the ABCD Camp.
All along, Dudley’s mother was a big key to his accomplishments. A great supporter of the Boston College program, she’s the person Jared highlights as having the greatest impact on his basketball career. She helped him get on travel teams, trusted his ability, and even slept in a car until he would get out of practice on some days. She didn’t want him playing football, although he did play baseball up through junior high in addition to basketball. His older brother, a better baseball player, was always there helping him out as well.
Watching him on the court, it’s clear that Dudley has a lot of energy and spirit. What you see is what you get; he’s an emotional young man, but it’s reflective of how he lives life because he really embraces the entire experience. Just as he’s a unique player, he’s a unique young man. You really get the sense that, contrary to the belief of some, he’s not a showboat when he gets excited after a big play; he loves what he does and he loves life. You get that sense even more in talking to him about the college experience nearly 3,000 miles from home, near a big city he had never been to before. He’s only been here for about three and a half years, but he already understands a lot about it, from the history to the local sports scene.
“You’ve got to experience it for what it’s worth, because it all goes by so quick,” Dudley said.
A number of us in the media have had running jokes (all in good fun) about how fast he speaks. We can’t measure it, but suffice it to say that he speaks about as fast as he plays the game. He’s always been a fast talker, reflective of the fact that he has a lot of energy and was hyper as a child. He says he’s always been a class clown-type, something that was certainly evident a couple of years ago when former teammate Jermaine Watson was a guest on a local sports talk show and Jared called the show during that time and had some fun with him.
To have many athletes say it, their world is a vacuum in which there’s no media other than the fact that they talk to the media from time to time, and the only team they know much about is the next team they play. Dudley is a junkie and knows what’s happening around the country, and he’s not afraid to show it. He is, after all, a regular young man, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he mentions recognizable TV terms like SportsCenter, Top Play nominees or the Bottom Line. And all along, he’s enjoyed a great relationship with the media. Clearly, he’s embraced dealing with the media in much the same way he embraces everything else in life.
Dudley is young for a college senior, as he won’t turn 22 until this July, but he’s clearly wise beyond his years. It shows in how he plays the game, how he approaches life and how he deals with people. That also becomes apparent in just talking with him about what’s ahead in his life. The NBA is a given, although as has been the case before, he’s not at the top of anyone’s list and right now is nobody’s NBA lottery pick. But at this point, can anyone bet against him, based on results?
When basketball is all said and done, the communication major has a lot he wants to do and not just professionally. As is the case with basketball, he knows success will come in what he does, and there’s a lot he wants to do. Specifically, he notes possibilities like being an agent, coach and a businessman, and no one can put it past him to do all three. He’s also quick to mention that he looks forward to one day being a family man and having kids.
Hopefully Boston College fans enjoyed him while they had him, because a young man like Jared Dudley doesn’t come along very often, both on and off the court.