Jun 5, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorMontana-State University Billings men's basketball coach Jamie Stevens signed Austin Hudson from Central Wyoming College Rustlers this week to crash the boards at the Division II school.
Hudson stood out with his rebounding skills last winter for CWC.
The 6-foot-8 player picked up the tempo late in the season to help the Rustlers win a game in the Region IX tournament.
Stevens left CWC two years ago to take the same position at MSU-Billings.
"One thing that we have lacked here last year was a legitimate five man (center) that has the ability to have a presence inside the paint to stop other teams that have good post players," Stevens said. "We have had some issues guarding opponents' five players."
Hudson averaged five points and pulled in four rebounds for the 2012-13 season.
"Austin is a great fit for his ability to guard and rebound," Stevens said. "Defensively, he will be able to match up with some of the better post players in our league."
Hudson can't wait to get started at his new college.
"It will be a great opportunity," Hudson said. "I feel like it's the best place for me to play."
Stevens is counting on Hudson to come in be an impact player.
"When you recruit transfers and junior college kids, you are not getting them to sit on the bench," Stevens said.
Hudson played his freshman year at Central Arizona.
"They had been on me for a while," Hudson said. "I had to break it down to five visits. It was a hard choice for me to make."
The Rustlers posted a 23-7 record in the Region IX North division this year.
"CWC was a great place for me," Hudson said. "The most important thing that I learned was to be humble and respectful."
Stevens said the Region IX conference is one of the first league he scouts out.
"It was nice to get a player out of Central," Stevens said.
Stevens spent four years at CWC before making the move to MSU-Billings two seasons ago.
"The first year was just a whole new team and a new coaching staff," Stevens said.
MSU-Billings finished fifth in Great Northwest Athletic Conference. MSU-Billings ended up winning the league tournament.
"We lost a lot of those guys," Stevens said. "We had to bring in 10 or 11 new players."
His team finished fifth in the league.
MSU-Billings lost in the opening round of the postseason tournament.
"We have had successful seasons," Stevens said. "We just need to take that next step."
Teams in the conference are Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks, Central Washington, Northwest Nazarene, Saint Martin's, Seattle Pacific, Simon Fraser, Western Oregon and Western Washington.
"We need to get some stability," Stevens said. "We have had to bring in several new players."
Western Washington, Seattle Pacific and Alaska Anchorage are usually the top three teams in the league.
"The league is the best Division II league in the country," Stevens said. "The level of play is really good. For us to compete in this year, we need to have Division I type of players."
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