NATCHITOCHES – Forward Brandon Hutton, one of the country’s more highly-regarded prep recruits in 2014-15, has signed to play his final three seasons of college basketball at Northwestern State.
Hutton, who initially signed with Iowa and was redshirted as a freshman in 2015-16 as the Hawkeyes reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, played last season at Indian Hills Community College. The 6-5, 215-pounder wraps up an eight-man 2016-17 signing class for NSU, Demons coach Mike McConathy said Tuesday.
A 2014-15 Reebok All-American at Chicago’s De La Salle Institute, Hutton was rated as a top 150 national recruit as a senior by 24/7 Sports, who listed him as a four-star prospect. He was ranked in the top 10 of the Illinois high school senior prospects list.
Last season, he helped lead Indian Hills to a 29-5 record, including a Region 11 National Junior College Athletic Association championship and a berth in the NJCAA Tournament.
“Brandon is obviously a talented young man, but he will positively impact our program in so many areas,” said McConathy. “He is a phenomenal student-athlete with high character and comes from a great family led by his parents, Nina Hutton and Ronnie Doss. Brandon has spent the last season in a traditionally strong, respected junior college basketball program playing for Coach Hank Plona. That complements how well he has been prepared by his high school coach, Tom White.”
A 2015 McDonald’s High School All-American nominee, Hutton led De La Salle to the inaugural Chicago Catholic League Tournament championship, prevailing in a 20-team field. He was a two-time all-conference selection, averaging 14 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots.
“The addition of Brandon to our team is the last piece of the puzzle to increase our speed, strength, and athleticism within our program. He thrives in the open court with the ability to finish above the rim in transition. He is dynamic on drives to the basket, and from behind the arc,” said McConathy. “He will be another member of our 2017 recruiting class that will add a much-needed spark to our full court press.
“We believe in Brandon and look forward to him having an impact from day one,” said McConathy.
His previous coaches had praise for Hutton’s effort and talent.
“Brandon is a young man that any coach would love to have in their program. He has great work ethic and is extremely tough and athletic. We look forward to watching Brandon and the Demons have continued success over the next 3 years,” said Plona, his junior college head coach at Indian Hills Community College.
“Brandon is a great student-athlete, a relentless defender who has the ability to defend any position on the floor. He is a gym rat and loves to compete,” said De La Salle’s White.
Hutton is the final addition in an eight-man recruiting class that began forming last fall during the early signing period, when NSU added three in-state players to its 2017-18 roster: 6-8, 265-pound post player Larry Owens of Monroe-Carroll; Louisiana’s 2016-17 Class 3A Outstanding Player, guard C.J. Jones (6-0, 155) of Monroe-Wossman; and swingman Caleb Starks (6-3, 190) from Division IV state champion Lafayette Christian.
This spring, the Demons have added five more newcomers, including Hutton, Eastern Arizona swingman DeAndre Love (6-4, 190) and three prep standouts. High-scoring guard Czar Perry (6-0, 175) joined California swingman Vontay Ott (6-4, 185) and Maryland’s Darian Dixon (6-8, 220).
The Demon basketball program has graduated nearly 90 percent of its seniors in McConathy’s tenure while ranking among the best performing men’s teams in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate reports in five years, including 2015-16.
NSU has made seven Southland Conference Tournament championship game appearances, winning in 2001, 2006 and 2013 to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Demons have won a pair of NCAA Tournament contests, including a 2006 victory over 15th-ranked Iowa. NSU has ranked among the top scoring teams in NCAA Division I three times in the last four years, leading the country at 84 points per game in 2014-15.