Chris Hudson, a 6-foot-5-inch forward who led Hodgdon High School to the Class D state championship in boys basketball last winter, will attend prep school in Massachusetts for the next two years.
Hudson, a third-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine selection after averaging 24 points, 16 rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists per game as a junior for the Hawks last winter, will attend Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts, beginning in September.
Hudson sees his decision as beneficial both academically and athletically.
“I’m not really sure what the future holds for me,” he said, “but I am excited about it. I want to go to a good college, that’s really what I want, and maybe if I could go to college for free that would be a great plus.”
The 17-year-old Hudson scored 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as Hodgdon defeated Valley of Bingham 51-46 in last winter’s Class D state final.
He went on to play for a Maine Athletic Club 17-and-under AAU team coached by Carl Parker that last month finished 11th among 99 teams at the AAU Division I 11th-Grade National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.
“This was the first year I got to compete really competitively against other kids throughout the country,” he said, “and I thought to myself that prep school would be a great way to get out there, not only academically but athletically, and become more prepared for college.”
Hudson met first-year Williston Northampton basketball coach Mike Shelton earlier this summer at an AAU tournament and followed that up with a visit to the campus, located approximately 20 miles from Springfield, Massachusetts.
Williston Northampton competes in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council ranks. The Bobcats are moving up from Class B last season to Class A — the third-highest of six divisions of NEPSAC basketball — next winter.
“They saw me play at a tournament around June, and the coach came up to me and introduced himself and told me about his program and it was pretty intriguing,” said Hudson. “Then I got to see the campus and it’s pretty nice. It’s in Easthampton so it’s a really beautiful neighborhood and they have excellent facilities.”
Hudson said he was accepted at Williston Northampton about a week and a half ago and reached his decision last week.
Hudson, who would have been a senior at Hodgdon this fall, will enter Williston Northampton as a high school junior under a practice commonly used by New England prep schools known as “reclassifying,” in which transferring students repeat a year of high school before embarking on their senior year in order to become better prepared for college life.
He’ll now graduate from Williston Northampton in June 2016.
“I think it will be a great experience for me and really using it all to my advantage is what I’m doing,” said Hudson. “To have two more years of school, you have an extra year to become prepared for college.”
Hudson, who also has been a field player on the Hodgdon boys soccer team, plans to continue competing in that sport at his new school — albeit with a slight twist.
“They asked me to be the goalie in soccer, so I’m going to try that out, too,” he said.
Hudson and his family moved to Hodgdon in 2009, and he said leaving the southern Aroostook County community won’t be easy.
“Hodgdon is a small school but it’s a great community,” said Hudson. “The people here are just wonderful.”