By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Northwest Missouri State's Trevor Hudgins, the reigning NCAA Division II and MIAA player of the year, will return to Maryville for his senior year, according to an ESPN report Thursday.
Hudgins and the Bearcats won the Division II national championship at the end of March, defeating West Texas A&M 80-54.
"I want to finish what I started here," Hudgins told ESPN. "I know the transfer portal is going nuts right now and everyone is giving me advice on what my next step should be. The grass might not be greener on the other side, but best of luck to everyone entering the portal. I hope it works out for them.
"My coach (Ben McCollum) took a chance on me when not a lot of teams did. He believed in me and that's my reason for going back to try and win another national championship. I feel like if you're good enough, you can play wherever you want at the end of the day."
Hudgins went from redshirting his freshman season to becoming a dominant figure at the D2 level, winning back-to-back MIAA conference player of the year awards.
He's converted over 50 percent of his three-pointers in his three years in college thus far, averaging 19.3 points, 5.3 assists and 1.7 turnovers through 100 games.
In the 2020-21 season, Hudgins averaged 19.8 points, a team-best 4.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game, helping lead the Bearcats to a DII-best 28-2 record and the program's third national title.
With Ryan Hawkins, the Bearcats' leading scorer this past season also announcing his plans to come back next season, Northwest will return its entire starting lineup for the 2021-22 season.
Despite going into his fifth year of college, Hudgins will still have another season of eligibility when he graduates next spring. The NCAA awarded all winter sport athletes an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19.
Hudgins says he plans to go pro when the upcoming season is over, but he will not completely close that door until he needs to.
"As of right now, I want this to be my last year in college, but I'll approach that when the time comes. If I have an opportunity to play at the next level making money, that's what I'll do, wherever that may be."