Family feels Dudley getting just due

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Erwin Dudley was named conference player of the Year by the SEC on Monday.

On Tuesday, the 6-foot-8 junior forward was voted to the All-SEC first team by the Associated Press.

Dudley’s father said the recognition is well overdue for his son.

“He’s been underrated since he’s been at Alabama,” Otis Hunter said Tuesday.

“As far as a big man in college goes, he’s been underrated the whole time.”

Dudley believes his son has been undervalued in college because he was not a marquis player coming out of high school and he didn’t have strong “connections” that other players had, he said.

“It’s pretty much just politics,” Hunter said.

“If you come from a well-known school or if you have a relationship with this person or, let’s say your brother plays pro basketball, you’re supposed to be that good, too.”

Meanwhile, Eugene Mason, Dudley’s former basketball coach at R.C. Hatch High School in Uniontown, said he’s not too surprised at how well his former player has performed this year.

“He always had the potential to do well,” Mason said.

“He finally got the opportunity to participate, compete and show his talent.”

Dudley was joined on the first team by Georgia’s Jarvis Hayes, Tayshaun Prince of Kentucky, Udonis Haslem of Florida and Tennessee’s Vincent Yarbrough.

Dudley led the SEC in rebounding (9.1 per game) for the second straight year and ranked 10th in scoring (16.0).

In all, Dudley had 14 double-doubles in scoring and rebounding.