Ram Commit Louis Hutchinson: “This Game Is A Part Of Me”

I’ll do anything to win

Louis Hutchinson

On May 1st, Archie Miller and the Rams secured a pair of commitments including one from 6-foot-7 combo guard Louis Hutchinson, a cerebral and skilled player from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Hutchinson has prep experience at powers IMG Academy and Long Island Lutheran – and the versatile Ram-to-be is a three-level scorer, plus defender, fiercely competitive, and committed to perfecting his craft.

I caught up with him for an engaging and wide-ranging conversation.

 

 

Chris DiSano: Religion and family are cornerstones for you. It’s evident in everything we’ve read and heard. Can you bring Rhode Island fans up to speed on what makes you tick?

Louis Hutchinson: Religion, first and foremost, is an important part of who I am and who my family is. My parents are both ministers, we’ve been very involved in the church, and that’s a huge part of who we are, and something I try to incorporate into everything I do. My mom is from South Carolina, Dad is from New York and me and my sister have grown up in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Our parents have instilled determination, confidence, and leadership – trying to do everything to the best of your ability and being a good person. When you go into something you have to believe in yourself before anyone else does. That’s when it really starts to come to fruition. Those are key parts of who I am and who I’ve been raised to be.

CD: Academics are important to you as well. Your GPA is front and center on your social media profiles. That’s not common and, in and of itself signifies, its meaning to you. Your thoughts and what discipline are you going to pursue at Rhody?

LH: That’s a great question. My Dad has his Ph.D., my Mom has her Ph.D. and three master’s degrees, my sister is about to graduate this week with her master’s degree and she’s only 22 years old. Ever since I was little, basketball has been important – but school is too. You can be the greatest player to ever play but you also want to be super well-rounded and use the platform you build on basketball to do other things. In terms of putting my GPA on my social platforms, when I first set up my profiles my Dad came to me with that idea and I was onboard. From there it’s benefited me. Academics are important to us. I’m looking to study business with a focus in marketing. URI has very good academics and that’s something we were looking for: academics, along with great basketball, and a community feel.

 

 

CD: You mentioned leadership. What does the concept mean to you?

LH: To be a great leader you have to be a great follower. And to lead others you have to hold yourself accountable first. You can’t hold others accountable if you’re going to be hypocritical with your own actions. You have to be able to showcase those things that you’re going to be asking of others around you. Whether that’s working hard, going above and beyond to get the extra leg up, speaking out in certain places… You can’t hold yourself to a lower standard. Also being a great follower. You have to know the aspects of the people around you if you’re going to help guide them. You also have to be consistent with the things you do.

CD: What setback has taught you the most in life? Was it your arm injury in high school?

LH: That’s the example I would use. For me, some people may see that as “you weren’t suppose to come back the same” or “that’s a major injury.” I saw it as an opportunity to work on things that people don’t usually work on. Go and watch high level practices and advance my basketball IQ, go work on certain parts of my body in ways I wouldn’t have worked on them before, and collect different things that helped my game in different ways. Because I couldn’t practice or work the same way I usually would every day, it forced me to go work on other parts of my game and myself as a person as well, that we don’t get a chance to evaluate on a day-to-day basis. Doing those things allowed me to leapfrog where I was before the injury and when I came back, hit the ground running.

It was one of the hardest times of my life, never being in a situation like that before. I was at school, away from home, and it all happened out of nowhere. It forced me to lock-in in a different way. Lock-in to God in a different way. It also allowed me show myself that I really had the dedication and determination; regardless of the injury I was going to come back stronger and earlier than expected.

 

 

CD: When you were a younger kid, when did the Division 1 focus click for you?

LH: So, going back to the confidence thing, I believed that I was going D-1, NBA, all of that ever since early elementary school. When I was younger I was a small, skinny kid. I was tough and physical but often one of, if not the, smallest kid on my team. In 7th grade I was 5-foot-6. Now I’m 6-7 (laughs). That’s who I was, who I’ve always been. If I’m going to do everything possible to get there despite all that people who tell me I can’t. To put a timeframe, I’d probably say 4th grade because that’s when I started playing basketball seriously. I’ve always thought in my mind that “it may not look like it right now to everybody, but I’m going to get there.” It’s how my story is going to go.

CD: Your Dad was a great tennis player and your sister is an accomplished dancer. What made you gravitate to basketball early?

LH: My parents may know the answer to that and be able to tell you better than I can. When I was young, I played tennis and had fun, did kung fu a little bit – I probably saw Karate Kid and said “I want to do that.” Ever since I was little, maybe 3 years old, I have a picture of me holding a basketball with a big smile. As time went on and I continued to play and work at it through the good times, bad times, tough times, workouts that kick your butt, or times where you feel you’re on top of the world – basketball is it for me. This game is a part of me. It’s part of who I am.

CD: You commit to Rhode Island. There’s a fit factor for all of us when we decide to attend a school, take a leap of faith to a new job, etc. What is it about URI that screamed fit to you, that made you say “Hey, this place is different?”

LH: Well, number one the food is pretty good (laughs). Aside from that, the coaching staff… I was contacted by coaches Kenny Johnson and Archie Miller. Their vision for me and what they saw for me, along with the successes I knew they had in the past, made me think that this is somewhere I want to be. I’m going to be coached hard but I’m also going to be coached by genuine people, people who have done it before, gotten guys to the places I want to be, and have won, and gotten to the level I’m trying to get to… Once I had more conversations, visited, got to know everyone, it showed itself more and more and more. The school, the feel, the academics… the community when I was on campus. I could see myself waking up here. I can picture myself going to school here and putting the work in every single day. A place where I can not just go to college but somewhere I can call home.

 

 

CD: It’s going to be a transition, as it is for anyone when they jump from high school to college, and you have goals both academically and athletically. Are there a couple of traits that will serve you most ideally in making the jump on the court?

LH: Like we talked about before I was one of the smallest guys on the court and so one of the things I developed early was my basketball IQ. To this day my Dad and I study film all the time, looking to improve my discipline and what I’m trying to do. I’m working five or six days a week now, doing strength training, basketball skills, and thankfully at the high school I’m at there are guys who have gone to D-1 schools and are coming back, so I’m able to go play against them and soak up knowledge from them. As soon as I get on campus, I’m going to hit the ground running. Even though it’s Coach Miller’s first year, we want to be successful. I know that’s the mentality of all the guys who are already there and coming in.

I hate to lose. I love winning, but I hate losing. I’ll do anything to win. Go rebound, take a charge, make an extra pass, go get a bucket, go lock up another guy. That’s my mentality.

CD: For people who have never seen you play can you briefly describe your game?

LH: I can score the ball at all three levels and I facilitate for my teammates and really like to get them involved, whether in the half court or on the break. I play with energy and get on the boards. Defensively, I’m a dog. I take every single match up personally. The guy in front me isn’t scoring, and if he does he’s going to have a heckuva hard time doing it. If I had to compare game to an NBA player it would be Jimmy Butler or Mikal Bridges type.

CD: Who’s the toughest cover you’ve had to guard?

LH: Jaden Bradley [No 1 or 2 PG in country and 19th overall by ESPN for Class of 2022]. He’s probably the quickest player I’ve ever played against, had the ball on a string, and is smart and athletic.

 

 

CD: Three words only to describe your game, what would they be?

LH: Relentless. Energetic. Winner.

CD: What elements of your game are you dedicating the most focus to right now?

LH: Being more explosive and stronger with my moves. Being in attack ready position always. Being low and ready to go. One thing my Dad always says is “When you get tired and fatigued it’s back to your habits,” so it’s about consistency for me and making sure I’m having the right habits.

CD: Let’s wrap it with a look at the immediate term for you and your upcoming plans. When are finals, the end of the school year, your arrival here in Rhode Island?

LH: I have graduation on June 11th, and we have end of the year projects underway now. Trying to finish out the school year strong and put in the work I need to put in to get ready. Summer session at URI starts in late June, so I’ll be on campus earlier that week to hit the ground running.

Chris DiSano, is an Atlantic 10 analyst and writer. He has served as the host of A-10 Live! at Men’s Basketball Media Day and founded the former College Chalktalk. DiSano, who was named NBC Sports top Atlantic 10 basketball follow on Twitter for five straight years, can be found on Twitter at @CDiSano44