Fresno State Basketball

Justin Hutson guided Bulldogs to 23 wins in his first season. Now he’s on the national map

Fresno State coach Justin Hutson, who led the Bulldogs to a 23-9 record and third place in the Mountain West Conference, has won the Joe B. Hall national coach of the year award presented to the top first-year coach in Division I basketball.

Hutson this season had the best record of any first-year coach.

In a statement released by the university, Hutson thanked College Insider, his staff and university president Joseph Castro “for believing in me. ... Red Wave, the best is yet to come!”

Fresno State, led by seniors Deshon Taylor, Braxton Huggins and Sam Bittner, was one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, ranking ninth with 10.7 threes per game and 24th hitting 38.1 percent of their 3-point field goals (342 of 897).

The Bulldogs also led the Mountain West in steals (7.1 pg) and turnovers forced (13.7 pg).

Taylor was a first-team all-conference selection for a second year in a row while Huggins was a second-team selection and the newcomer of the year in the conference. Forward Nate Grimes was honorable mention on the all-conference team.

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada