About 8-10 minutes before the deadline for signing contract extensions expired last night, Jared Dudley inked a deal that could keep him a Sun for possibly five more years.
Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said that Dudley is a “glue guy” and is one of the “bricks in the team’s foundation.” Gentry believes that you construct a team by adding “young, high-character” players, and he believes Dudley is an example of that.
Last season, the winner of the 2009-10 Majerle Hustle Award led the team with 45.8 percent shooting from behind the arc. In his first full season with the Suns last year, “JD” averaged a career-high 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and career-best 1.4 assists, while seeing action in all 82 games.
Dudley, who also led the Suns with a career-high 81 steals last season, told Suns.com his Top 5 reasons he loves playing in Phoenix (in no particular order).
1. Proximity: Growing up in San Diego, Dudley enjoys the weather and the fact that Phoenix is geographically close to his hometown.
2. Alvin Gentry: When Dudley arrived in Phoenix, he hardly saw any playing time under then-Suns Head Coach Terry Porter. Once Gentry took over the reins, Dudley became an important fixture in the rotation.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to play for him at least a few more years,” Dudley said.
3. The Trainers: Dudley appeared in all 82 games last season and is well-aware of how Steve Nash and Grant Hill have thrived physically since arriving in the Valley. This past offseason, Dudley dropped 15 pounds, improving both his endurance and his quickness.
“The trainers keep your body right,” he said. “They have a history of keeping guys healthy.”
4. Great Teammates: The former Boston College product stressed that it wasn’t just the chemistry around the locker room that makes his teammates so valuable to him.
“My teammates are great not only because we get along, but because guys want to pass along knowledge,” Dudley said. “It’s rare to have teammates like Grant and Steve, future Hall of Famers, that are willing to pass on knowledge and basically show you their path. They let me know what I should and shouldn’t do.”
5. The Fans: “I came from Charlotte where we didn’t sell out,” he said. “We would only sell out when we played Cleveland and LeBron (James) or L.A. But here we’ve had more fans for a preseason game than we did for most regular season games there. Having games sell out and having a great atmosphere to play in is second to none.”
With the money he’s going to receive from his extension, Dudley plans on saving for the future, buying his mother a house and giving Nash a gift. He said that he feels obligated to give his point guard something, because in his mind, Nash’s ability to make his teammates look good is one of the reasons he received the extension in the first place.