Florida junior guard Jalen Hudson is weighing a decision whether to put his name in the NBA draft or return for his senior season.
One NBA scout who has watched a handful of Gator games thinks the 6-foot-6 Richmond, Va., native, could get picked in the second round of the draft if he decides to come out.
“He can be an instant offense guy off the bench, similar to what he was for Florida,” said the scout, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “He can shoot and he can create his own shot. In the NBA, there’s value in that.”
Hudson averaged a team-high 15.5 points per game this season, shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from 3-point range. Hudson’s 78 3-pointers were the most for a UF player this season. Hudson also got to the free-throw line a team-high 139 times, though only shot 66.2 percent from the charity stripe.
Hudson came off the bench for the Gators for a stretch but wound up starting 19 of 34 games for UF in 2017-18, including 10 of UF’s last 12 games. Hudson averaged 19.5 ppg in two NCAA Tournament games, including a team-high 23 points in Florida’s 69-66 Round of 32 NCAA Tournament loss to Texas Tech.
The mock NBA draft site NBADraft.net projects Hudson to go late in the second round with the 52nd overall pick to the Chicago Bulls. The Gators haven’t had a player drafted since Erik Murphy was taken in the second round (49th overall) by the Bulls. Brad Beal was UF’s last first round pick, going third overall to the Washington Wizards in 2012.
The scout said Hudson could at least put his name in the draft without an agent and decide whether or not to keep his name in the draft in early June.
“That would be a good experience for him, to see where he stands and see where he needs to improve,” the scout said.