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UAlbany's Danielle Hutcheson takes center court

Danielle Hutcheson
  Danielle Hutcheson

UAlbany’s Danielle Hutcheson was named the America East Conference Co-Player of the Week in women's basketball for the second time this season. The 6-foot-4 junior has scored in double figures in three straight games. Hutcheson’s enthusiasm for UAlbany has helped her rebound from a health problem that kept her on the bench for the first six weeks of basketball practice and play, but since she’s been back, says women’s basketball coach Trina Patterson, “she’s been burning up the court.” Ironically Hutcheson is now the team’s leading rebounder (8.9 pg), second in scoring at 12.5 points per game and capturing player of the week honors for the third time in her career. She ranks sixth on the school’s all-time rebounding list with 593.

Coach Patterson agrees that Danielle’s feelings about being at UAlbany help fuel her passion for basketball. “She’s blossomed into a real player – high energy and special.” UAlbany has so transformed Danielle that she doesn’t even go home to Phoenix, AZ, anymore for summer vacation, but stays and works on campus during the New York Giants’ training camp.

How did such loyalty and enthusiasm arise? She first came to UAlbany on a recruiting visit to see what women’s basketball was all about. “I spent one night here and absolutely fell in love with the place, the people, everything,” she said. Besides her first visit to campus as a prospective recruit, two other occurrences had a profound effect on her. First was 9/11, which happened during her first two weeks of school. “I couldn’t believe how much it brought the campus together as a family, how many people were affected. There is so much cultural diversity on campus and I realized that if I had been in Arizona, the impact would not have been this great.”

“The coaches have an open-door policy that builds trust and closeness among the team."The second significant influence was a course she took as a freshman that helped with everything from time management to note-taking for class. With a Division I schedule to maintain -- basketball practices and games are six days a week -- and with academics as a priority, it means that all those skills are imperative for success. Hutcheson is a communication major, but is undecided on a career path. She’d like to continue with basketball, perhaps as a player on a European team or maybe even as coach.

She’s had some good role models for coaching, another feature of life at UAlbany that fuels her passion for the game. “We are like a family,” said Hutcheson. “The coaches have an open-door policy that builds trust and closeness among the team. It makes us feel special and, maybe even spoiled.” It’s a selling point that she passes on enthusiastically in her community work and in recruiting prospective student athletes.

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