Eddie Ludwig is a realist.
The 6-foot-9 senior forward admits his athletic ability and wingspan won’t allow him to fly high and block the shots of those much taller and more versatile paint players he’ll see once LSU hits Southeastern Conference play.
So the Metairie Park Country Day School product does what he’s done his entire career – he stands still and takes a charge.
Ludwig has caught the eyes of both LSU coach Johnny Jones and his Tiger comrades in the paint as he puts his body on the line night in and night out to compensate for his shortcomings in shot blocking.
“We are a smaller team, so [taking charges] has been more of an emphasis,” Ludwig said. “But for me, it’s something I’ve done since I’ve been here.”
Junior forward Shavon Coleman, who admitted to putting more emphasis on shot blocking than taking a charge, praised Ludwig’s team-first mentality and willingness to make a difference on defense.
“I’ve got a ton of respect for him,” Coleman said. “He’s willing to sacrifice himself and his body for our team.”
Ludwig said his mindset does not change as he sees opposing players barrel toward him, mixing in a dose of optimism the referees will side with him.
“[I just] get in the right position and hope they don’t call a block,” Ludwig said.
Constantly skirting the tenuous line between taking a charge or committing a block, Ludwig said he instantly knows by the intensity of the hit if he’s drawn a charge — but every so often a call takes him by surprise.
Ludwig deflected any individual attention from the charges he draws, referencing one of the mantras Jones constantly preaches to Ludwig and his teammates.
“In my opinion, and in coach’s opinion, when a guy is willing to give up his body like that, it shows his commitment for the team,” Ludwig said. “That’s just me committing on the defensive end.”
Ludwig said the Tigers don’t specifically reward the player who takes the most charges, but anytime he stands his ground, the bench gets riled up for the change of possession.
Though he prides himself on his unique contributions on defense, Ludwig said he wishes his sacrifice would translate onto the stat sheet.
“I can’t block a shot,” Ludwig said with a grin. “I wish they’d put [charges] as a stat in a stat line to help me out.”