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Rudd bulked up, ready to go
Posted Nov 2, 2011 by Adam Adkins
Updated Nov 2, 2011 at 07:32 PM
It may be just an exhibition game, but sophomore Victor Rudd can’t wait for the University of South Florida’s preseason tune-up Saturday night at the University of Tampa. It’s easy to understand why.
Rudd sat out last season after transferring from Arizona State, where he played sparingly as a freshman, averaging 6.2 minutes of action over 15 games.
“I’ve been anxious to play all year,” said Rudd, a 6-foot-7 forward who is expected to play a big role for the Bulls this season. “I feel like I haven’t played since high school.”
While it may take some time for Rudd to find his footing, he points to all of the positives that came from sitting a year out per NCAA transfer rules.
“It helped me in a lot of ways,” Rudd said. “It helped me analyze the game, see what kind of game speed the Big East is playing at, how physical it is and gave me a chance to gain a lot of weight.”
That last bit was important. When Rudd arrived on campus, he checked in at 190 pounds. But he spent a good portion of his time last season stuffing his face — three trips each day to the cafeteria, twice-daily runs to local fast food spots and plenty of extra protein shakes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches — in an effort to add some bulk to his frame.
It worked. Rudd is now listed at 220 pounds, but it’s not just extra flab. He also worked tirelessly in the weight room. A year ago, Rudd said he could barely bench 195 pounds twice. Now, the reps have increased by 10.
And the most important aspect of that weight gain is the added element to his game. Rudd said his previous coaches had always asked him to take his game inside, but he never found the same comfort level as he did while on the perimeter. With some added mass, now it’s a different story.
“I’ve gotten a lot more confidence in the post and going to the basket,” Rudd said. “Now I’m bringing the body to them. I go to the basket, I’m hitting people with my body.
“Even on defense, people cutting and stuff, I’m hitting people with my body now.”
Rudd’s ability to defend in the post could be a key for the Bulls this season. Coach Stan Heath is happy with his three true big men — seniors Augustus Gilchrist and Ron Anderson Jr. and junior Toarlyn Fitzpatrick — but if foul trouble arises, Rudd could be called upon to help pick up the slack. He says definitively that he’s more than ready, and willing.
“I’m out here guarding Gus and Ron every day, and they bang,” Rudd said. “I have no problem with that.”