Dave Velasquez was a year out of college, new on the San Diego State men’s basketball staff, when he noticed a fresh name on the list of recruiting targets scribbled on the white board in assistant coach Justin Hutson’s office.“I just remember seeing this weird name,” Velasquez says. “The first time you see it, you have to think to yourself, ‘How do you pronounce that?’ ”Kawhi Leonard.It was early in the 2007-08 season, and Hutson had spotted Leonard at Riverside’s Martin Luther King High during a holiday tournament. He had gone to see no one in particular, just knowing several of Southern California’s top players and teams were entered. He left transfixed with a 6-foot-6 junior who wore his hair in throw-back corn rows. They were recruiting wings that year, on account of losing seniors Lorrenzo Wade and Kyle Spain from a team that would finish 20-13 and reach the NIT. Hutson quietly added Leonard to the white-board list that already included higher-rated small forwards like Tyler Honeycutt, Derrick Williams and Solomon Hill.“I was like, man, this guy is really good,” says Hutson, now head coach at Fresno State. “He became an immediate target. I started to follow him around… Read full this story
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