Fall 2022

Trevor Hudgins leads NW Missouri State to D-II basketball championship: 'Glory to God first'

You could make the argument that Trevor Hudgins is the most accomplished player in NCAA Division II history. With Saturday’s 67-58 win over Augusta (Georgia), he led Northwest Missouri State to its third straight national championship and its fourth in five years.

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NMSU is the first program in D-II history to win three consecutive national championships. The Bearcats won in 2019 and 2021, and they were the No. 1 team heading into the 2020 postseason, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hudgins’ 31 points and five assists in the championship game on Saturday capped off a run that culminated in him being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for the second time, and cemented a perfect 17-0 record for him in the NCAA Tournament.

After the game, Hudgins deflected the praise and instead gave it to God.

“I don’t even know what to say. Glory to God first,” he told CBS Sports. “I prayed for things like this. It’s just a blessing to be in this environment, be in this title game with my team. These guys are fighters. From day one we fight.”

The Bearcats have established somewhat of a dynasty in Division II, and Hudgins has been at the center of it all. Twice he’s been named Player of the Year (2021, 2022) by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and he has won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Player of the Year three times. The one year he didn’t win it he was named the conference’s freshman of the year.

Earlier this season, he told News-Press NOW (St. Joseph, Missouri) that his faith led him to choosing to play at Northwest Missouri State over Pittsburg State (Pittsburg, Kansas). The Bearcats had just won their first national championship and head coach Ben McCollum remained in place while Pittsburg State went through a coaching change.

McCollum continued to recruit Hudgins hard.

“I’d said it was like it was God telling me to go there,” Hudgins said. “Everyone just washed away and Northwest was the only one standing and, ‘Here I am.'”

In recent years with changes to the NCAA transfer process, it’s become common for players at smaller schools to transfer to larger schools, especially toward the end of their careers. The 2021 D-II tournament MVP, Ryan Hawkins, left NMSU as a graduate transfer to play his final year at Division-I Creighton.

After the Bearcats won the national championship in 2021, Hudgins was asked by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony if he, too, would be transferring for his final year of eligibility. He was thrown off by the question, he said, as it was never a consideration to leave the school that had given him a chance to play, even if that meant not being able to play Division I.

“I thought they were just after the blue bloods and Power-5 type of guys, but all praise to God, I guess,” Hudgins said. “I’m just trying to be a Bearcat, work hard, win and just keep on moving. If they are taking notice, all the hard work is paying off.”

Throughout his career, Hudgins has shared about his faith publicly, and in his Instagram bio he lists Psalm 27:1, which says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?”

 

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A post shared by Trevor Hudgins (@_t_revor)

 

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A post shared by Trevor Hudgins (@_t_revor)

Following Saturday’s game, he took one more opportunity to thank the coach that gave him a chance to have the career he’s had.

“Coach has been a stand-up dude since day one when I met him,” Hudgins told CBS Sports. “He’s believed in me when no one else did. And then again, I got my brothers here. We’ve worked so hard.”

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