Div. II POY Trevor Hudgins returning to Northwest Missouri State for senior year

Trevor Hudgins, the NCAA Division II player of the year, will return to Northwest Missouri State for his senior year, he told ESPN Thursday.

Hudgins won the Division II national championship at the end of March, his second title for the Bearcats after winning the 2018-2019 trophy. His team's 2019-20 season was canceled abruptly with a 31-1 record due to the pandemic.

"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 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 a dominant figure at the D2 level, winning back to back conference player of the year awards in the MIAA. He's converted over 50% of his 3-pointers in his three years in college thus far, averaging 19.3 points, 5.3 assists and 1.7 turnovers through 100 games.

Hudgins' deep range, ability to shoot off the dribble and sure-handed style of play has earned him attention from NBA scouts, with a strong senior year expected to put him firmly in the mix for NBA workouts after he graduates.

Hudgins says the fact that another Division II graduate, Brodric Thomas of Truman State, is currently seeing minutes in the NBA as a rookie with the Cleveland Cavaliers shows that there's a pathway for college basketball players outside of Division I.

"For sure I'm looking at him. I just need an opportunity to show what I can do. I'm looking for someone to give me a chance. I have a lot of work to do but I'm trying to see all the possibilities that are going to come my way and will keep working until then. I think it's realistic to get drafted, but I'm also aware that I'm a point guard and that's the deepest position in the NBA. It will be extremely hard. If I keep on working and stay focused I can have a chance to play with NBA guys. We'll see what the future holds."

Despite going into his fifth year in college, Hudgins will technically have another season of eligibility at his disposal when he graduates in the spring of 2022, as the NCAA awarded all winter sport athletes an extra year of eligibility. Hudgins says his plan is to turn 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."