Aztecs Men’s Basketball: Assistant Coaching Changes
Written by Tony Fantano
SDSU men’s basketball 2018-19 broadcast schedule was just released and second-year head coach Brian Dutcher will be without one of his key assistants from last season. When, Justin Hutson left the SDSU Mens Basketball’s coaching staff for a head coaching opportunity at Fresno St, he took with him a very attractive and youthful energy.
Four-star recruit, Jordan Campbell already de-committed from SDSU at the news of the former assistant coach’s departure. Hutson has swagger and it is infectious. People want to play for Hutson because he has the intangibles that can inspire camaraderie, emotional growth, and a winning culture.
When trying to attract 18-year–old kids who are treated like royalty at their respective preparatory schools, a successful recruiter has to be cool and current. Every kid wants to play for a staff that is fresh, innovative and successful. When Coach Steve Fisher was in charge, he recruited based on his past success and his Championship runs with Michigan.
As time goes on, the shine of The Fab 5 has faded. Prominent alumni like Kawhi Leonard has helped remind potential recruits of the kind of success they can have at SDSU. Hutson was instrumental in attracting Leonard to State and was an essential component in attracting a flurry of other recruits to play for SDSU. Hutson is now gone.
When SDSU’s star basketball alum Leonard was just a high school recruit, it was Hutson who did the ground work to build a common bond between SDSU and the young recruit. The reason he chose SDSU over other schools is because of Hutson’s early recognition of his talent. For a soft-spoken gym-rat like Leonard, Hutson’s consistency and determination to build a winner greatly influenced him to choose SDSU.
Later on in his time at State, Huston was a huge part of creating a buzz about Aztec basketball in the Sacramento youth basketball circuit, where he was able to find talent like Chase Tapely and eventually Malik Pope. Did Hutson just get lucky, or was there something about his youthful charisma that makes you want to play for him?
Tim Shelton a former SDSU player, assistant coach, and aspiring recording artist has followed Hutson to Fresno St. Shelton is a fun guy with a lot of swagger as well. He believes in communal pride, cutting down nets, and looking good. If I were an 18-year-old recruit, meeting Shelton would be refreshing. Shelton’s style is relatable to kids born after 2000. His youth, attitude, and inclusiveness will convince many kids that Shelton is the right guy to coach them.
Now that Hutson and Shelton are gone, SDSU has Brian Dutcher as head coach. Dutcher brings his years of assistant coaching prowess at SDSU and Michigan. Dutch is not out of touch, at least SDSU hopes not. He has since added a Jay Morris from Long Beach State that could help recruiting from the LA area. Success cannot be denied, and Dutch led the Aztecs to an NCAA tournament berth in 2018.
The Aztec’s winning culture is dependent on the street-ball and family-first basketball that he, his assistants and former assistants have worked hard to cultivate. Losing Hutson and Shelton certainly will be hard to make up for and SDSU is hoping to not lose anymore commits, like they did Campbell. Now, we can see what long-time assistant Dave Velasquez can do as a veteran assistant on the Aztec’s staff.
Brian Dutcher definitely earned the head coaching job and his personal legacy has so far been successful but now comes the recruiting. Instead of helping Dutch this year Hutson will be competing against him to sign recruits. In the past Dutcher had the attractive resume and Hutson had the attractive attitude. For a young recruit, time will tell which path is more attractive SDSU or Fresno State, Coach Dutcher or Coach Hutson? They will follow the swagger. Swagger is defined by winning. Time will tell.