Victor Rudd is a name that has been on Gonzaga's list for quite some time. Rudd is super-athletic 2009 wing who plays for one of the best prep teams in the nation at Findlay Prep. Rudd's recruitment has gone in waves and everyone kind of thought that Gonzaga was out of the picture for awhile. Recently, Rudd tabbed the Zags as one of his five favorites and now it appears that Gonzaga has serious interest. The Slipper Still Fits was lucky enough to chat with Rob Miech of the Las Vegas Sun. Miech is very close to the Findlay program and offers some great insights to Mr. Rudd. Before we asked him some questions he had this little piece of interesting information...Enjoy!
Rob Miech: FYI, Mark Few was down here early last Monday (eight days ago) to watch Victor and the Pilots practice. They are quite intense, especially a Persistence Drill. The first five defends for a full 35 seconds, no matter how many times they deny the backups. They could get three turnovers. Block three shots. Cause two turnovers and also get a defensive rebound ... But they will play defense for the full 35 seconds. And they'll do this for an hour at a time, if not more. It's pretty impressive to watch and reinforces that the team's main goal, the rudder of its system, is defense.
Slipper Still Fits: We're just trying to get a feel for the kind of player Victor is. What kind of strengths does he possess on the court and what are his major areas of concern at this point?
RM: Victor is electric, as polished at taking it high-wire style to the hoop for a flash dunk as he is at shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. No kidding, I saw him connect from, oh, 28 feet with some consistency before a game last week against Lake Mead Christian. He is sticky as a defender and savvy with his ball handling. Also, he's unselfish. Quite a package.
Many who read this are probably way too young to get the connection, and I probably shouldn't date myself, but he reminds me of a young Clyde Drexler at the Phi Slamma Jamma squad from the University of Houston in the early 1980s. On that note, anyone who can see a copy of the 1983 national semifinal game between Houston and Louisville, it might be the best hoops game I have ever seen.
Concerns? That's tough. You have to be very picky. I'd love to say he is lax sometimes and doesn't follow his shot, but that's not the case. He covers well for teammates on defense, blocks shots, etc. Maybe he'll take 3s when that's not the best option. Again, it's extremely difficult to find fault with his game.
He might be a bit lithe, but he'll no doubt put on a few pounds of muscle at the next level - like most standout prep players.
continue reading after the jump for more of the interview...
SSF: Findlay is a team full of stars; does Victor have the ability to take over games or is he more of a role player for his team? Can he become a above average player in big time college basketball?
RM: Victor will not be an average player in college. On this team of stars, he sparkles. Texas-bound Avery Bradley is incredible, but Rudd consistently plays as well, or better, than Bradley. They are all pretty unselfish, though, so neither would ever say, or admit to, being challenged by the other or that there is some sort of competition between the two. Maybe it's just talk, but they always, always after every game talk about ‘team.' Their actions on the court show that, too.
SSF: How is Victor off the court and in the classroom at Findlay; can you just describe him as a person for us?
RM: Vic is kind of unassuming. He whispers most often. But he's very confident. He missed a paper two weekends ago and was suspended from a game. Findlay is associated with the prestigious (and expensive) Henderson Int'l School, which has incredible demands of its students. Findlay players must also meet those demands. One bad mark, missed assignment or missed class, and Pilots get suspended. They know the deal going in. They are very cognizant of being fortunate to be in their positions. They travel so much, they're very well prepared for the next level. Look at Deandre Liggins at Kentucky, Jorge Gutierrez at Cal, Daividas Dulkys at Florida State. He's a funny kid, too. He also didn't know that "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" was filmed at the high school he went to north of Los Angeles. He was just watching the movie one day and, voila! Hey, that looks like MY school! Pretty funny.
SSF: If you could comment on the type of relationship that Victor has with his teammates and coaching staff? Is there any truth to the rumors of him being tough to coach?
RM: It doesn't appear to me that there are any underlying differences between his teammates or his coach. I think there are certain chemistry issues that must be hemmed on any elite prep team, but I think they've worked on them. Most of them live in the same house just up the way from the Henderson Int'l School, so they are constantly seeing each other. Anyone have a brother or two? It's like that. Remember growing up and the fights you'd get into? Same type of thing here. Anything serious? I highly doubt it.
SSF: As far as his recruitment goes, what teams have shown the most interest in Victor at this point and do you think he is ready to decide his future soon or will he wait?
RM: Vic will make his decision by the middle of February. He's getting his ACT and SAT out of the way in the next two weeks, and he's very confident he'll do well. Only want to take them one time, he said. Gonzaga and Arizona, he mentions frequently. And Marquette. He visited UNLV a couple of weeks ago at practice and his guardian, Bill Hankins, beams about the Rebels program and how it would be a great fit for Vic in so many ways. I'd say the lean is UNLV, but Vic himself is very coy about his intentions. USC is a late player, too.
SSF: Any idea as to whether or not Gonzaga is a major school of interest for him because it seemed like the Zags were backing off for a while but then they wound up in his top five.
RM: Gonzaga is high on his list, no doubt. I've perused the list a few times with him, and he never forgets to mention Gonzaga. He has even pointed to my pad and said, You need to write Gonzaga on there. Not sure if he'll visit, though. Findlay travels quite extensively, so that might hamper his plans to visit. They play in Kentucky this weekend and in Florida next weekend. Between his academic requirements and practice, etc., he might not fit in a trip to Spokane. However, it has never sounded like that's a big issue with him, as in, not visiting a school would drop it from his list.