Rudd moving focus away from only 3-point shots
TAMPA -- When you last saw USF's Victor Rudd, he had emerged as the leading scorer in the Bulls' wild run to the NCAA Tournament, then looked into entering the NBA Draft before opting to return for his junior year.
The 6-foot-9 forward talked to reporters Tuesday as part of USF's basketball media day, and said he spent this summer working on expanding his game, relying less on outside shooting and more on rounding out the other aspects of his game.
"When I played summer league back home, I didn't take any threes. I tried to get to the basket and get to the line," Rudd said. "I think I can get a lot more points if I shoot 10 free throws a game. I've added post moves. I'm working out with our post players, and I've added a mid-range shot. I want to do more than shoot a majority of 3s. I want to balance it out with a post game, getting to the basket and getting to the line."
With center Waverly Austin not qualifying to play at USF -- he's now at Oregon -- the Bulls need players like Rudd and forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick to shift some of their focus more toward the post, using their size to help with rebounding inside, where USF is lacking depth.
Rudd admits he was undersized in some post assignments last year, and has gained 10 pounds for his current weight of 232 pounds, up considerably from the 207 pounds he was listed at as a freshman at Arizona State three years ago.
"Last year, a lot of guys like (Kansas') Thomas Robinson were pushing me, so I had to fight harder, use more strength," Rudd said. "I think it's a lot better when I go to the basket, I can push guys off me."
Rudd and senior Toarlyn Fitzpatrick both spoke with confidence about USF's newcomers, and about a returning nucleus that now starts its goals with the NCAA Tournament, having just gone for the first time in 20 years and won two games to get a taste of postseason success.
"That's now the expectation for us now. It's not something we want to do. We did it, and I think we want to keep it going as a tradition here," Rudd said. "That's something we look forward to. Now we want to make the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight."