Updated: 19 hours ago
With COVID-19 causing the cancellation of major AAU circuits, players that would normally be primed for a considerable boost in their recruitment have not been able to show off their improvement in the typical high-talent settings. Yet, there were still some players who looked promising enough during their high school seasons to move up and bring in high-level offers. Alex Fudge was one of the highest risers amongst the 2021 group and with his combination of physical tools, athleticism and skill set, it appears this may just be the beginning of his ascent.
Standing 6’8” with a wingspan in the 7’0” range, Fudge is a wing that is very comfortable handling the ball in open space, attacking closeouts and has impressive vertical pop. Playing as almost a ‘point-center’ for his high school team out of necessity, he was one of the top players in Florida 5A basketball this season. He had coaches come through from Georgia Tech, Kansas, Notre Dame, and USC, and holds offers from the likes of Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Clemson, DePaul, Georgia, Florida, Iowa State, LSU, TCU, Texas, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech. His list will only expand, with Rivals now ranking him 37th overall and the 8th best small forward in the high school class of 2021.
With substantial growth since he started high school, Fudge brings a truly unique fluidity to go along with top-notch size for a wing. His first step really stands out, as well as just how comfortable he is taking angles in transition. He counts Chandler Parsons, who is the namesake of Team CP25, as a mentor. Plus, as a student of the game, his all-time starting five list will show he has a knowledge of NBA history. A true standout on and off the court, it seems that Fudge is someone destined for success regardless of the path he chooses.
In this interview, Fudge talks about his growth curve, family history in sports, his high school season, his goals moving forward, his workouts with an aspiring NBA draftee, some of the more challenging matchups he has faced, his off-court interests, academic pursuits, his thoughts on current events, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2021 prospect Alex Fudge, from Jacksonville, Florida:
PI: Tell us about your background and your story. Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
AF: I was born in Jacksonville, Florida. Growing up, I really didn't know what sport I wanted to play. I got into a couple other sports like baseball, tried that out, wasn't my thing. Football definitely wasn't my thing. My mom used to play basketball. She was like, “I'm gonna sign you up for ‘Biddy Ball.’ You're gonna love it.” So I'm like, “I'm gonna try that out too.” I got in there and I would just dominate, like, best one out there. So that was like my first year playing basketball. And then the next year, she signed me up for, instead of Biddy Ball, she moved me up to the older group with the big kids. So I started playing up from there and from there on, basketball took me away. I mean, that was my first love. So growing up, I've got a brother, my mom as I told you, she played basketball in high school. She was one of the top recruits coming out of Louisiana. She signed to go to USC, but instead went to JuCo and then finished her degree at Paine College. And then my dad, coming from Georgia, He ran track and played football. He took a track offer from FAMU and went to school at FAMU. My brother, he's a football player at Tusculum University and is going into his third year. So my background I mean, basketball. That's been my whole life.
PI: What turned you on originally to basketball rather than baseball and football?
AF: Just the fact that I was better than everybody. When I took that next step after Biddy Ball and I started playing up, I was still almost better than everybody. I just kept on progressing, trying to get better. And then I noticed, I could really do this. I could really go for it because people were already hyping me up back then like, this man is going to be something. They said, "he's a tall kid." I guess I was, but growing up when I got past the Biddy stage and got to the middle school stage, I'm pretty sure I didn't hit my growth spurt until my ninth grade year. So I mean, just that feeling that I could do something or I could take this somewhere or be something with this. I mean, that's what really started it.
PI: Have you been strictly playing basketball since you were in first or second grade or did you play anything else until later on?
AF: I played football coming into my middle school years. I was kind of pressured. My brother played football at the middle school and he was great. Everything was about my brother in middle school. Football, track, basketball. So the coaches were like, "you're playing football." That was the coaches, not my mom. My mom didn't want me playing at all. So I got to sixth grade and didn't really want to play, but they threw me out on the field. I played quarterback. And from there I just had the height. I was like 5'6" or 5'7" at the time so I could throw the football and I could see over the line. That's all they wanted. I started my seventh grade year. In sixth grade, I sat behind two quarterbacks, and in my seventh grade year, I broke my foot. So my mom was like, you're not playing your eighth grade year. My dad overruled and said to let me play in what was probably my last year playing football. I actually did decent in eight grade. I took our team to the semi-final. We lost but it was against a pretty good team. Then, I knew that I wasn't going to be ready for high school football. Basketball is where my heart was at so I’m going to stay there.
PI: What was rehab like recovering from a broken foot?
AF: It was tough. I was just trying to get my mobility back. I was able to come back in January or February in time for the end of the eighth grade basketball season. I didn’t play that much then, though. I didn’t play at all in sixth grade because I sat out with a broken pinkie. Then my foot happened in seventh grade. I was sitting behind two other guys when I came back. Eighth grade was my year to show. I got back in the second half of the season around conference play. I was sitting behind a couple eighth graders. Then, Coach gave me a chance to get in and step up.
PI: Tell us about your brother’s path and what he means to you.
AF: My brother is one of my biggest inspirations. Growing up, watching my brother and his work ethic, it’s crazy. He would wake up, go train with my dad, then go try to find another trainer. He wanted to be the best. Everyone knew my brother was the fastest in the city. No doubt, hands down. As a wide receiver, if you put him on an island by himself, it’s over. He’s going to run a fly, and if you get it to him, it’s a touchdown. Everyone was like, “Aaron Fudge is going to be great in high school.” He was supposed to go to one of our neighborhood schools for high school, but he had a different plan. He went to a Catholic school on the other side of town called Bishop Kenny. Johnny Wolford (reserve quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams) actually went there. Watching my brother in high school, he didn’t get much burn on Varsity. Tenth grade year, he started off on Varsity, and that school had some serious talent. They had Charles Wade (Wake Forest) and other good kids. Eleventh grade year was supposed to be his year to shine and that was going to be the year colleges were going to see him play. He didn’t play much that year because he broke his ankle at practice. I’ve never seen my brother so upset. He came home that day crying. He was just determined. He was so focused and determined to get back on the field. He was telling us that he had to show something. He got back late his junior year and dominated coming off an ankle injury. I saw then that I had to get my work ethic up to his level. Now, he’s like 6’4” and 211 of straight muscle. Now he’s at a D-II at Tusculum University. Not playing his junior year really hurt him. He had a lot of interest. USF and Louisville were interested in him. Central Michigan was his only offer at the time, but they changed coaches so he lost that. Louisiana-Lafayette, where my mom’s from, was interested but they also changed coaches. His goal is to get to the NFL. That’s where he wants to be, so he’s working like crazy. He’s always asking me to come workout or run. He really inspires me.
PI: What have your parents instilled in you as far as work ethic and mentality going into college?
AF: I listen to my mom the most with basketball because she knows basketball. She played, like I said, and also coached at the D-1 level at Bethune-Cookman. I’m trying to get my brother’s work ethic and am doing two-a-days these days with lifts in the middle. My mom says I have to be ready for college. She said I’m going to want to come home and that it’s going to be hard but I have to be ready for it. She was telling me I have to be mentally and physically prepared. My dad instills life lessons on how to become a better man. My dad talks about my attitude and how I need to look at things. He changes the way I look at things. We see stuff different and both like to debate. We see things differently at times but can agree to disagree and compromise. I get my life skills from my dad and my mom teaches me the basketball side — how to be prepared, how to be the best I can and reach my maximum potential in basketball.
PI: Do you have any mentor figures in your life other than your parents?
AF: There’s a couple. Chandler Parsons. He’s a sponsor for my team. I talk to him a lot. Patric Young from Florida, also. I talk to Isaiah Ford from the Miami Dolphins a lot, too. We get on the game a lot. He tells me about the decisions I should make and how I should go about them. Also, my coaches. They’ve put a lot of players into the league. Grayson Allen started off with Jacksonville Lee Bulls. Both of my coaches, Coach Maurice Willie and Coach David Jones are two great coaches. They want to see success for me. They motivate me to be the best player I can. Isaiah Ford played for the Lee Bulls under Coach Maurice and Coach Jones. I was blessed to play against Coach Maurice’s team when they were the Jacksonville Magic. At the time, I was playing for another team. We played against them and Coach Maurice told me about how he could develop me. Then I started playing with them. I’ll never forget this day when I went to a camp and I saw Isaiah. At the time, he was about to graduate from Trinity Christian Academy. I asked him how tall he was, and then we became friends. He’d take me to the store and give me advice. Now, we’re just close. We’ll get on the game now and play 2K or Modern Warfare.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from Isaiah?
AF: He told me that it doesn’t matter what you’re ranked. It doesn’t mean anything. You might be ranked number one in the state or nation, but that doesn’t mean you stop working. He would always tell me not to settle for less and not to become complacent. Keep working. I’ll always take that with me.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from Chandler Parsons?
AF: It’s always about decisions on schools. When they offer me, I always ask him what he thinks or knows about schools. I asked him about Florida. He said it was a great school, but the decision is on me. I had to ask him how he knew what the right decision was for him. At this point, I’m at the stage where I’m taking it all in right now. I was asking Chandler, when he narrowed down schools, what schools did he choose and why. He was telling me that you really need to know the head coach and that’s what your decision needs to be based off of. Assistant coaches, they’re going to be there, but the head coach is who you’re playing for. You need to make sure that the head coach and you are tight. That’s your second dad. He was telling me you need to trust the school and the environment that you’re at. He loved Gainesville. He said that Florida cares. I asked him about a couple of west coast schools. He was telling me that he knew a couple coaches that used to coach at Florida and are now on the west coast. Like Rashon Burno at Arizona State. I asked about him a little while back.
PI: On that note, where are you at in your recruitment currently?
AF: As of now, I am sitting at 24 offers. I’m in investigation mode. I want to go to these schools and find out more about them and their coaches. In the next two or three months I’ll have my top-10 or top-15. As of now, some schools are just now getting involved such as Stanford and Miami. We had an evaluation series recently, so more coaches are probably going to get involved. So just looking into schools and building relationships with coaches to see where I want to be. I’ve been taking virtual visits. After this, I have a virtual visit with Stanford where they are going to take me around the school. I’ve taken a handful of virtual visits.
PI: Do you feel like you’re missing out on anything having to do virtual visits or do you feel comfortable with how recruiting has changed during the pandemic?
AF: Decision-wise, if I had to make a decision off of just virtual visits, I don’t feel like I have a great feel for the school. They give me the facts about the school, like how monthly living would be, how practices would be, how I fit into their systems and stuff like that. I won’t know where I want to be until I actually get there. What if it sounds good over the Zoom calls, if they say they’re going to train me well and I’m going to eat well, that sounds good. Then, if I get on campus and I don’t like the environment or where I’m at, and it’s just an empty town, that will play into my decision. I don’t want to go to a place where there’s nothing to do. I like to keep myself occupied. If I’m out of practice and don’t have anything to do, that’s where trouble starts. I want to keep myself occupied. I know I’m going to be in the gym 24/7, but I don’t want to be bored after the gym. Sometimes the game is not there for me, or I’m having a bad day and don’t want to talk to anybody. I want to like the area as well. Usually, on my unofficial, like to Georgia Tech, I went to the game and felt the people. Like, they knew who I was and said “Hi, Alex!” They knew who I was, the people that worked there. Especially at Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida. They were hyped to see me and happy to see me. It was like, “the people here are nice.” Clemson was a college town, everything was Clemson. I want to get a feel for the school.
PI: We’ve been told you’re taking college classes. Tell us about that. What does education mean to you?
AF: In middle school, I was not good at basketball. My mom was like, “you better be good at something.” I got into education hard. A program came up that was a great opportunity for me in seventh grade. It was the first time my school had it, and it was called the Early College Program. I had to take the PERT in seventh grade and passed it easily. It wasn’t that hard. Eighth grade year, I started taking high school courses. From there, I really wanted to go to Paxon School for Advanced Studies. They were so highly ranked for their academics, and that was where all my boys were going who played AAU together. My mom said “no, I have a better plan for you.” She sent me to Lee, which is the best early college in the city. My ninth grade year, I started taking 10th grade courses. In 10th grade, I was taking 11th grade courses, finishing out my maths and readings. Then I took three college credits at Lee. I took Math, English, and History. I completed all my high school courses except for two in tenth grade. My 11th grade year, I got to FSCJ (Florida State College at Jacksonville). It was totally crazy. I had never taken a foreign language but took Spanish at the college. That’s what I struggled with the most. I took Spanish, Math, Science, and recently completed Human Anatomy and Physiology. I took a speech class and a financial literacy class. Next year, I’ll actually be going into my major, which I decided I’ll be doing History and Sports Management. I didn’t know which I wanted to do. I really wanted to go into law, but a lawyer convinced me not to, because he was like, “you’re good at basketball and politics is a lot,” so he said, “if you still want to do law when you’re done with basketball, do a minor.” So I decided to do history. I also wanted to stay in something related to basketball so I did Sports Management. My schedule for next year is crazy. The first half, I have Statistics, Physics, a Human Development class, and Economics. Economics is my last class of high school. So basically, I’ll be done with high school. My second semester is straight electives. I’ll have a lot of histories basically. It’s a great opportunity for me. I’ll be graduating with my AA degree. I’ll be graduating from college first, then high school. I love it. I get out at like 12 o’clock sometimes, which is great.
PI: Walk us through this past high school season.
AF: We were fresh off a good season. We lost in the second round of the playoffs, but we lost a good senior who went to college. We needed another player to replace him. This kid DeAndre DeVaughn from Raines transferred to Lee. I couldn’t play because I broke my wrist at a camp - Scott Golden’s Hoop Exchange. It set me back a little and I probably came back too early. I still have some complications, but I’m still hooping. First game, I probably had 25 or 21 points. We had a packed gym and felt like we were on the way to something great. Second game, we got upset by a good team that had Isaiah Adams, who is going to UCF next year. He’s like my twin. We look identical. We got upset by them, but then said we can’t lose to anyone else in the city. Then, DeAndre really stepped up and hit threes as our main shooter. Our point guard, at 5’7” or 5’6”, nobody in the city could stop him. He’s one of the top point guards in the city, hands down. His height is holding schools back from him, I think. We were just destined. I’m grabbing boards, pushing the ball. My boy Jarrion, he’s 6’1” and doing the same thing and finishing with dunks, easy layups, and shooting the ball. I averaged 16 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. When we got to the playoffs is when we really started kicking up. We first went to go play a team called Palm Forest. It was crazy. We started off slow and Pine Forest said they were here to play. I’m thinking, did they really just come at us like that? At half time, our coach asked if we were there to play or just look cute for the fans. After half time, it was over. The game plan was to drive to the hole, lob it up to Alex, and he’s going to go get it. They couldn’t stop it at all. DeAndre was so crafty with the ball. We beat them. Second round, we played against St. Augustine. We blew past them. Third round, that’s the game we lost in. We played a team called Rickards. They were well coached. I just think we didn’t really have film. People were telling us about them and said they could move the ball up and down really fast and we were anticipating the drive. They came out and I think it was the best shooting game they had all season. They were hitting one dribble pull-ups from three and two. We adapted and changed at half time, but they started pulling away and at that point the game was out of reach. We were down by 2 going into the fourth but by the 3 minute mark, they were pulling away. Players got tired. We basically only played five guys. We had four that never came out and the fifth person was interchangeable. We’d have a shooter at times or sometimes a playmaker. We didn’t play up to our standards and our season was cut short. Now that I look back at it, I can’t say that a team beat us and didn’t win it all. Rickards won the state championship. But the season went well. Ended up 23-5.
PI: Did your team do any sort of intense conditioning in the preseason knowing you were basically playing five guys?
AF: My coach was old school and would have us out at the track in the preseason. He was preparing us to run the mile and a half. We’d warm up with the track team that started really early. We would do track workouts and then the football team would come out. We’re all working out with the track team running sprints. 400, 200, 100, running sprints and stadiums. Then after that we’d hit the weight room sometimes. Then we had a timed mile and a half that I think was eleven minutes. Then they put us in the gym. We didn’t touch a ball for the first two weeks in the gym. It was straight conditioning, core workouts, and body workouts. He told us it was his last year coaching us so he wanted to get everything out of us. We just did straight training, like boot camp. I think that really prepared us to be in the game that much.
PI: Congrats on making first team FABC 5 All-State. What does a recognition like that mean to you?
AF: It shows that hard work really does pay off, but I can’t stop working. Next year, I’m looking forward to taking my team to the state championship and hopefully getting Mr. Florida. I saw my friend, Isaiah Adams, do it. He took his team to the final four two years in a row. Watching him dominate, he deserves Mr. Florida. Recognition like that pushes me to go for the next highest one.
PI: Describe your game. What are your strengths?
AF: My game is different in high school and AAU. In high school, I’m the biggest man on the court, so I play the post primarily. But, my game is, I’m a combo guard. I have a quick first step and my ability to finish at the rim is crazy. If I have to, I would dunk on you. Playmaking, creating plays for others. I know the game, so I can see a play before it happens. I love setting screens because it creates wide open opportunities for my players. Back screens, screening and fading away, or slipping a screen, I’m a student of the game so I like to watch stuff like that. Defensively, I can stay in front of a man and make sure he changes directions. Defending the rim, no doubt. That’s the easiest thing for me because anything that goes up is going back the other way. Teams shoot the ball when they play us because they know I’m down there. I can shoot the ball as well but was taken away from that because I was primarily the post. I like to shoot the ball stationary. I’ll knock down a drive and kick and if I have to take a pull-up in the mid-range I can do that as well. My strengths are really finishing and playmaking.
PI: Where are your biggest areas of improvement?
AF: My whole game needs improvement because I’m not there yet. I would say shooting, because I have been taken away from that in high school so I want to tighten those skills up. Ball handling, also. Reactions. I want to be able to move more fluid, and that comes with my body, so I want to work on my body more. Developing muscle. At the next level, there’s kids at 230, 215, 210 in my opposition. I want to make sure I’m physically ready, because, going against Udoka Azubuike (Kansas) in these workouts, he’s a man.
PI: You’ve been working out with Udoka Azubuike?
AF: Yeah. He went to high school at Potter’s House, which is 15 minutes from my house. He’s coming back and working out to prepare for the draft. I’ve been getting in with him a lot. “Doke” is a beast. I’m helping him and he’s helping me.
PI: How often do you play him one-on-one?
AF: Every workout. I get two dribbles. The trainer wants Udoka to guard off a screen and roll. Basically, it’s one-on-one from there. I’ll set a screen and fade. Udoka hedges and comes back to guard me, then I have two dribbles. He’s so long, you have to get off your shot quickly to beat him. I’ll beat him to the hole sometimes. I’ll hit him with a quick hesi or an in and out to get by him. But that bump is serious. If he bumps you off your trail, you have to make sure you get back because he is so long. One step and he’s at the rim. He’s really pushing me, because I really am seeing what I have to be in college and what I’ll have to be after college. Working out with Udoka is really helping me.
PI: How much have you grown in the last few years? Did it come gradually or was there a spurt?
AF: Coming out of eighth grade I was like, 5’7” or 5’8” — in ninth grade, I hit 6’1” I want to say. Then I went from 6’1” to 6’4” coming into 15U AAU. In 10th grade, I shot up to 6’6”. From there, I’m 6’8” now. I’m scared I might hit 7’0” but that’s okay. They said I was probably almost done growing, but I don’t think so, because my knees have been hurting. That means something.
PI: How has your experience been with Team Parsons and the Adidas circuit?
AF: That was my first year of AAU. I didn’t play AAU my eighth grade year. My mom pulled me out because she saw that I wasn’t giving enough into it. In ninth grade, I knew I had to put my name on the map, and Coach Maurice said he had a great opportunity for me down in Orlando. I went down, and Coach Drake saw me and wanted me to play on the 15U Gauntlet team. That was our last year on Adidas. The competition was amazing. Efton Reid was huge, Michael Foster as well. Playing against them, I wasn’t the best my ninth grade year, but I wasn’t the worst. I was in between. My ninth grade year, I was a shooter. That’s what I did. From there, Coach Ricks was telling me I had potential to be a top player in the nation. He said we were going to put a plan in place, and if I followed it, I could be. He said to trust him and keep working. He’s really for me. He’s here for my personal success. CP25 is the best program to go to if you want a coach to invest time in you. My 10th grade year, Coach Ricks actually became my coach. Games were hard. He’d yell at me and I got mad and had to go dominate. He pushed me to be the best I could be.
PI: Would you say you rely more on your natural talent or your work ethic? Why?
AF: Work ethic. Everyone has talent. Someone can do something, but that work ethic is what separates you from others. That work ethic is going to give you the ability to have different finishes and dribble moves. For example, Moussa Diabate: he’s my teammate. He’s an all-around great player. He has a ton of talent, but his work ethic separates him from everyone else. He’s always grinding and is out there almost every day at IMG and with his trainers. He can do it all, but works on certain aspects that work with everything else he does. That’s also what separates me from other people. That’s what I depend on the most.
PI: Who are the five best players you’ve played against?
PI: Hardest player you’ve ever had to guard?
AF: JD Davison. He’s so crafty and explosive. You can stay in front sometimes, but can you 24/7? He’s always thinking about his next move while he’s playing. If one doesn’t work, he pulls the next one out of the bag. I’m just like, how many moves do you have? If you stop him, he’s got another plan. He’s smooth, can play make, and create plays for others. It’s similar to Tommy Murr (Lipscomb). Both of them play relentless and easy.
PI: If you were going to do anything other than basketball for a career, what would it be?
AF: I’d want to get into law. I like to talk a lot and I like to get my point across. I love to debate. I’d like to go into entertainment law. I don’t want to deal with the criminal justice system and things like that. I love stuff like that, though. In middle school, I used to look into court cases, landmark cases. I loved looking into those and that’s what got me into law at first. Now I see and am experiencing first hand, but I don’t think I could be the one to prosecute and put somebody in jail, or defend someone that I know is wrong. I’d want to be an agent for someone or defend someone that did wrong but needs to explain his part or something like that.
PI: Would you say you have a dream school or a program you’ve always been a fan of?
AF: When I was watching Udoka play, when he first went to Kansas, I liked them. They’re a good school and pretty nice. When I got to ninth grade, all of that changed when coaches started getting involved, and I don’t have a favorite school anymore. Whatever school wants me and where I end up, that’ll be my dream school. But growing up and playing NCAA Football, I always played with the Jayhawks. I liked playing with them in Mascot Game Modes.
PI: What do you love most about the game of basketball?
AF: The relationships you make through it and the hard work. I like when I’m working hard and I see the progression. This time around, last year, I was ranked 126 or 108 or something. I had mid-major interest like ULL and UNF. I started working, and now I’m looking at it and I’ve come a long way and am still developing. Now I’m like, “what more can I do?” That’s the next step. “What else can I do? What else can I accomplish?” That's what really brings me joy in basketball.
PI: What would you say is your biggest motivation or inspiration?
AF: My family. Just watching them. My mom and dad’s stories. My brother’s story. I want to follow in their footsteps and go beyond what they did. My goal is to make it to the highest level. I’ve got to take my brother’s work ethic, my dad’s life skills, and my mom’s personal motivation for basketball and take it to the highest level I want to go to.
PI: Do you model your game after anyone in particular?
AF: Three people. I like to watch Giannis Antetokounmpo because I’m a slasher and Giannis gets to the hole easily at 6’11” finishing at the rim. Nobody’s stopping him. Also, I like to watch KD, because growing up, the same build, he’s tall like me, and the way he can handle the ball, shoot the ball, and make plays for himself. That’s what I want to see myself as, the next KD. Third, Tracy McGrady. Watching him, it was like, the way he scored the ball was so easy. I even copied a couple moves from him like the hesi into a pull-up. My coach told me that’s who I should be watching so I picked up Tracy McGrady in late ninth grade.
PI: Who’s your all-time starting five?
PG: Oscar Robertson
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Michael Jordan
PF: LeBron James
C: Wilt Chamberlain
PI: What’s your biggest hobby outside of basketball?
AF: Sleeping. I’m working out almost all day, so I come home and sleep. Another thing people don’t know is, next to basketball, I love to buy shoes. I’m a big sneakerhead. Finding a size 15 is hard for me, but if I can find them, I’m gonna get them. The big thing I want to reach is, I want to have a collection of Jordan 1s. Simple. Right now, I have a few rares. I have some Yeezy’s, KD 5s that are really limited. I have some Jordan 11s and 13s. I just want some Jordan 1s. Those are the classic shoes to wear around. It’s a nice shoe and I like it. The shoe is nice. My high school season next year, I’m going throwback. I’m going to go back to LeBron 9s and 10s, Kobe 7s. I just got a pair of KD 4s and 5s. Now I’m looking forward to getting another pair of Kobe 8s. I had a pair that were customized around the time Kobe died. I had a shadow of Kobe and a memorial. That was my way of honoring Kobe. Kobe’s are probably the best hooping shoes.
PI: What’s your favorite thing to read or watch these days?
AF: I like to watch documentaries or movies that get into what is going on in the world. My favorite books are The Skin I’m In and Their Eyes Were Watching God. I had to read that for my Humanities class. I just like shows or books that teach you life lessons. I’ll watch Harriet Tubman or Fences. Fences is a great movie. I watched that for my English class for college credit. It had a deep meaning to it and Denzel Washington played his part very well.
PI: What did you learn from Fences?
AF: This one part will stick with me forever. The dad told the son that he couldn’t play football because he wouldn’t allow him to play for a white man and he was going to have to get a job. The son asked if his dad loved him, and the dad said I put clothes on your back and a shelter over your head, so you need to learn to respect me or get out. Denzel played the role really well. The fence was supposed to be built for his wife. The purpose of the fence for the movie was to keep negativity and bad spirits out. Towards the end, after Denzel started building it, he cheated on his wife, bad stuff came in, and he didn’t finish the fence. He had a baby with the other lady and his son ran away. His cousin became mentally ill. Bad stuff was coming in. The main focus was to fix the fence to keep bad stuff out of the house. He wound up dying and his son realized his dad was going through what he was trying to teach. Life lessons like that. That’s what I like watching.
PI: What are four words that best describe Alex Fudge?
AF: Intelligent. Athletic. Caring. Self-determined.
PI: Tell us something about yourself that most people have no idea about.
AF: People always say that “Alex is smart. He has to be so smart if he’s going to graduate with his AA degree.” Yeah, I’m smart, but I just know how to manage my time and prioritize things. Spanish and Human Anatomy were a real struggle. I had no problems with the other classes. I had to divide equal opportunity to study and get my information for those. I had to make Spanish the most important, because if I didn’t pass it, I probably would have been kicked out of the program. I had to make sure I had everything I needed for Spanish. I had to make sure I had all the resources I needed. Then, my friends were good at Human Anatomy. I don’t like science anymore and knowing the body parts. I need to know it now with my body. I’d go to Human Anatomy and get help. I’d go early to get Spanish done and then after school study with my friends for Human Anatomy and see a tutor. It was time management and making sure I scheduled where I could get the information I needed. It’s not just technically being smart, but also knowing how to manage your classes. That’s the biggest thing in college. If you can’t do that, you’re in some trouble. With the way I had to schedule my classes, I had to take a two-hour Anatomy lab. Having to get to school at 8 or 8:30 and you’re listening to a lecture and a lab, at first I was like, “that’s not it.” I had to get used to it. Sometimes the teacher would cancel class and say just to look in the book. I’d be like, “wait, I need to learn this!” So whenever I got that email I’d respond and ask when office hours were.
PI: Walk us through your dream day 10 years from now.
AF: Hopefully in the NBA making money doing what I love. Probably investing in a lot of businesses. Owning a lot of shoes. Being able to take care of my family and provide for my mom, dad, and brother.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for?
AF: I want to be remembered as a great player and a person who came back and invested in their community. Someone who inspired their community and the kids. The next generation up, I want to be known as someone they can look up to and count on, and if something was happening in the city, I’d be there to help out.
PI: Is there anything you’d like to say on the current events in today’s world?
AF: What’s going on, we know is not right. At the same time, I feel like the protests that some people are doing are right. Others, I feel like, are taking advantage of what’s actually going on and they’re starting to damage this country. The looting, the rioting, and the burning of the cities, stuff like that affects other families because curfews get put in place and at this point, I had to sit back and think, are the protests that are becoming riots even for the people affected by this? I love protests, don’t get me wrong. What’s going on with the peaceful protests, speaking up, using your platform, I’m all for it. But when America and a group of people decide to get together and damage or steal from a place, I don’t feel like that’s the way to go. Some people will be like “by any means necessary.” They’ll take that quote from Malcolm X and I don’t think that’s what he meant. I think “by any means necessary” back then, it was a crucial time where cops would brutally beat the people during protests and riots. I think what he meant by that is to fight back. At this point, I don’t think looting and rioting other places is right. Guys like J. Cole stepping up and using their voices. That’s what I want to see more of. LeBron using his platform to step up to people like when Drew Brees made the wrong comment at the wrong time. He was like, “check him.” I mean, all lives matter, but right now in this particular time, we’re going through something, and we need everybody’s help. We need to all be on one page and in one step. It’s going to take everybody in the world to come together because everybody’s equal and that’s how it should be. No cop is above the law. No person is above the law. The law is where it’s at. That’s my stance on it.
Watch the full interview with Alex, here