Hutson Is Loud When He Needs To Be
March 23, 2001
By LARRY LAGE
ATLANTA - Tears were rolling down his cheeks, and harsh words were coming out of his mouth.
Andre Hutson had seen enough.
The Michigan State senior, quiet by nature, lashed out with a passionate tirade not seen before by his teammates after the Spartans lost at Ohio State on Jan. 27.
Hutson feared that the program's streak of three Big Ten titles was coming to an end - for all the wrong reasons.
He said things that needed to be said and pointed fingers where they needed to be pointed.
It was a turning point in a season of much promise.
"I was pretty upset," Hutson said. "I didn't like the direction our team was headed. We had guys, especially our underclassmen, that were not playing with the effort and the heart that this program has been built on. I owed it to the guys that came before me to speak up."
Like Antonio Smith.
Smith was Tom Izzo's first recruit six years ago, and although his name does not come up in public much anymore, it still does among the Spartans.
"Andre is the one guy that has taken on 'Tone's' personality more than anybody we've had," Izzo said, referring to Smith. "Like 'Tone,' he's not real outspoken, but they're both like E.F. Hutton. When they speak, people listen."
The Spartans responded to Hutson's uncharacteristic outburst by winning eight of their final nine regular-season games, which was good enough to share the conference championship with Illinois.
Michigan State, the No. 1 seed in the South Regional, will face 12th-seeded Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 on Friday night.
This marks Hutson's fourth straight trip to the Sweet 16, a streak matched only by Duke.
The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward is experienced enough in March to say that he guarded North Carolina's Antawn Jamison four years ago in the Sweet 16.
The next year, in another loss, Hutson had to guard Duke's Elton Brand at the Final Four.
Hutson was so upset with his play after that game, primarily because it ended Smith's career, that he headed right to a bathroom stall in the locker room.
"He was a mess after that game," Michigan State assistant coach Mike Garland said. "He was trying to hide, but we could hear him crying and dry-heaving.
"That's when I knew he really was a warrior."
It's a word that is often used to describe Hutson, who is called 'Dre' or 'The Big Chill', by teammates and coaches.
Hutson's threshold for pain, and his desire to win, almost scares those around him because they never know if he's hurt.
In an overtime win over Wisconsin, Hutson dragged his body through 38 minutes of physical play.
"He just passed out in the locker room after that game," Garland said. "He played with 70 percent of his lung capacity and had just 15 quarts of liquid in his body. The doctors said he was so deathly ill that he shouldn't have been able to even walk."
His right shoulder popped out of place, which has happened before, in the win over Fresno State last week. Instead of allowing his teammates to maintain their comfortable lead, Hutson returned to the game with a bulky brace strapped onto his shoulder.
"It wasn't that bad," Hutson said. "I've been in worse pain. There's not much that can keep me off the court."
Hutson has averaged 13.5 points on 62.1 percent shooting, and 7.6 rebounds. He has started 126 games and has been a part of a national title, two Final Fours and four Big Ten titles.
Hutson admits that as his career comes to a close, he finds time to gaze into the rafters at the numerous banners he has helped raise in the Breslin Center.
"I thought we might get a Big Ten banner or two, but I never dreamed that this could've happened," Hutson said. "We could fill one whole side with the banners we've put up."
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