By Dalton Ray–
After a year at UNC Asheville, sophomore Dwayne Sutton, one of three Louisville-born players on the men’s basketball roster, returns to play for his hometown team.
Sutton led Asheville in rebounds per game, 7.7, and was second in points and steals. The duPont Manual graduate transferred to Louisville last April after helping the Bulldogs reach the NCAA Tournament.
Due to NCAA transfer rules, Sutton must sit out this season. Sutton admits sitting out took time to get over.
“I’ve accepted it. At the very beginning, it was hard to just watch after playing a lot last year. So, now I use that to motivate me,” Sutton said.
Sitting out isn’t something Sutton is used to. A Mr. Basketball finalist at Manual, Sutton started all 34 games at UNC Asheville. Sutton earned the Big South Tournament MVP after scoring 25 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in the championship game.
When Sutton was given the opportunity to play for his city and Rick Pitino, he couldn’t pass it up.
“I didn’t get a chance to play for (Louisville) out of high school. It’s a huge opportunity for me and I’m going to take advantage,” Sutton said. “It’s a big deal playing for coach Pitino. As a kid, I grew up watching all the U of L games and saw how he coached just in games. Now I’m here under his wing and getting to know him, he’s very knowledgeable and a great guy.”
Since Sutton is forced sit out this year, he spends his time developing his talents in practice and brings effort into the gym.
“I’ve become a better shooter since coming here. I bring a lot of energy on both sides of the floor and get to the rim, it’s what I’m known for,” Sutton said.
Sutton is an athletic wing that finishes well against contact. At 6-foot-5 and 200 lbs., Sutton possesses the tools Pitino requires in role players: high energy, great effort and solid defense.
Growing up, Sutton tried to emulate his game after one Cardinal great.
“I watched a lot of Terrance Williams. He’s a very athletic wing player. He can do it all for the team and that’s what I want to do,” Sutton said.
Sutton’s dreams of hearing his name called inside the KFC Yum! Center become closer by the day but for now the only people who see Sutton play are the ones within the team. People close to the team know the kind of player Sutton is.
“(Sutton) is going to be a beast next year – he dunks on everybody,” Donovan Mitchell said.
File photo / The Louisville Cardinal