Bio: Freshman, 6'5, 218 lbs. (Chicago, IL)
Last season: High school (Caring Is Creepy)
What we saw last season: Nothing, because we don't watch a lot of Chicago high school basketball. But that alone is significant -- Chicago is a hotbed of hoops talent, but it's an area that Iowa has struggled to recruit for several years. In this class, Fran pulled in Hutton from De La Salle high school in Chicago and Isaiah Moss from Simeon in Chicago. If those commitments open the doors for me Chicago area prep stars, the future could look very bright indeed.
Hutton averaged 12 ppg, 8 rpg, 4 apg, and 3 bpg as a junior and earned Chicago Catholic League All-Conference honors. Last year he earned All Catholic League South Section honors (although I couldn't find stats for his senior year performance).
What we need to see this season: Iowa likely isn't going to rely on any of the newcomers to do a lot of heavy lifting this season -- this team is going to ride or die on the performances of Uthoff, Gesell, Woodbury, Clemmons, and Jok (and maybe Uhl as well). The newcomers will be relied on a lot next year (when Uthoff, Gesell, Woodbury, and Clemmons are gone) but for now they're here to get their feet wet and supplement what Iowa's veterans are doing. They don't need to be well-rounded contributors that can do everything -- it will be enough for them to do one or two things well. That role could suit Hutton perfectly because he's already embracing a role as a defensive stopper:
"I want to work my way up to being the best defensive player in the Big Ten," Hutton said. "Right now, if my role is to come in and shut the best scorer down on the opposite team, I will do so. As I get older and as I grow and as I develop, then my role will change. But right now I'm just really based on being the best defensive player that I can be for Iowa."
"Really that's what wins games," Hutton said. "You've got a good player that's out there that's going hard no matter what, diving on the floor for loose balls, or loud, talking, active hands, that's going down to the offensive side sooner or later. You want to capitalize a lot on defense. That's why I really think I can excel right now."
That attitude is music to a coach's ears -- and it sounds pretty good to us, too. If Hutton can provide some tenacious defense on perimeter players for 5-10 minutes a game, that would be a real boost for Iowa. Outside of Clemmons, there aren't any standout perimeter defenders on this team (although Uthoff can make lives miserable for opponents with his reach when he plays out there), so there's a good chance Hutton will get opportunities. If he can force turnovers and stifle opponents, he could be a vital member of Iowa's second unit.
Best case scenario: Hutton's defense backs up his confident proclamations and Fran has no choice but to carve away minutes from Jok, Uhl, and Clemmons. Hutton plays 12-15 minutes per game, forces around 1.5 steals per game and creates (and finishes) plenty of transition buckets for the Hawkeyes. His quickness also allows him to make an impact on the offensive end as his slashing and ability to get to the rim adds a new dimension to Iowa's offense.
Most likely scenario: Hutton gives Iowa quality minutes on defense, but especially in Big Ten play he isn't (yet) a lockdown defender against the bigger, savvier, quicker wings that populate the league. Hutton plays 5-7 minutes a game and averages around 0.5 steals per game. On offense, Hutton's inconsistent jumper prevents him from making much of an impact as college opponents do a better job of keeping him out of the lane and not allowing him to drive and attack.
One request: Hutton's boundless confidence has already led to some great quotes -- keep 'em coming. We're all for Iowa athletes who can give us memorable lines off the court to go along with standout play on the court.