Fresno State Basketball

Bulldogs’ 2020 basketball vision starts with commitments from guards

New Fresno State men’s basketball coach says he hopes to fill Save Mart Center

Justin Hutson holds his first news conference as men's basketball head coach at Fresno State. Here's what he had to say and some facts about his career.
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Justin Hutson holds his first news conference as men's basketball head coach at Fresno State. Here's what he had to say and some facts about his career.

Fresno State coach Justin Hutson and his staff had a productive week, landing a pair of 2020 prospects with length, athleticism and an ability to defend and score in a variety of ways in Destin Whitaker from Romeoville, Ill., and Leonardo Colimerio from Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant, Utah.

Whitaker, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, was also being recruited by DePaul, Valparaiso, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Illinois State and Illinois-Chicago.

Colimerio, a 6-6 wing from Sao Paulo, Brazil, had offers from BYU, Oregon State, Colorado, Washington State and from the Mountain West Conference Utah State.

For Whitaker, a chance to play in the Mountain West against the Aggies and the likes of Nevada, San Diego State and New Mexico was a big part of the draw to Fresno State.

Boise State also will be a game circled on the calendar.

“One of the guys who plays out here, his name is RayJ Dennis (a 2019 guard from Oswego, Ill., about 16 miles from Romeoville), he just committed to Boise State so we have a little rivalry,” Whitaker said. “I’ve got somebody to look forward to going against.”

Hutson is not allowed by NCAA rule to comment on prospective student-athletes until a national letter of intent has been signed and validated. Both players are expected to sign during the early signing period in November – Whitaker committed Tuesday, Colimerio Thursday night.

But the guard spots are a priority for Hutson, the 2019 Joe B. Hall national coach of the year, with Noah Blackwell and New Williams entering their senior seasons.

Whitaker, who committed shortly after his official visit last weekend, already is ready to go.

“I actually got a lot of phone calls after the commitment from schools wanting me to de-commit right away and I was like, ‘You know what, this is what I feel,’ “ Whitaker said. “With the recruiting process, I feel like you know. When you visit the school, if you like it, you’re going to know and I just had that feeling when I was at the school.

“I love the culture, everything there. I feel like Fresno is one of those schools that you dream of and now, making it happen, it’s just the craziest part. It’s kind of unreal right now. I’m still trying to take it all in.”

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
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