Playing point guard for the Texas women’s basketball team, Sug Sutton is often described as a coach on the court.
Perhaps it’s the nature of the position. The junior is responsible for knowing what each of her teammates is supposed to be doing. Sutton is a ringmaster, shouting instructions and running the show.
“As a point guard, you feel like you’re a second coach,” Sutton said. “When things go wrong, it all goes back to you — or the coach.”
Sutton aspires to play professionally after she graduates in May 2020. The WNBA remains a dream. Playing overseas is an attractive option, too. But no matter what unravels in her basketball future, she wants to stay in the game — as a coach.
Basketball is a common thread in the Sutton family. As a kid growing up in St. Louis, she could be found on city playgrounds or gymnasiums. Her father is a prominent AAU coach, and she was Larry Sutton’s shadow. It was also a way to stay close to sisters Alantis and Alexis.
“My mind was set on being a coach long before I got here,” Sutton said. “I always wanted to be like my dad. … I like the whole part about being demanding. It’s fun to coach people who have a motor to be great. The coaches here — coach Jamie (Carey), coach Karen (Aston) — they helped inspire me even more.”
Aston said point guards like Sutton naturally have “a second voice” on the floor.
Sutton is having a fine season, averaging a team-high 12.7 points per game. She ranks 17th in the nation with 5.8 assists a game. Among the coaches who keeps a watchful eye on her is Carey, who played point guard herself for the Longhorns from 2002-05. Sutton said Carey has taught her about “competitiveness.”
While Sutton knew early that she wanted to coach, Carey is a different story. She had no such desire until the athletic director at Legacy High School in Broomfield, Colo., offered her a position as girls varsity coach.
It seemed like a perfect fit. Carey was Miss Colorado Basketball in 1999 before embarking on her college career — one year at Stanford, then three at Texas. She also played in the WNBA for four years.
“I immediately told him no!” Carey said Friday, referring to the job offer.
But she reconsidered after realizing her pro career was at a crossroads.
“I took the job because I wanted to remain around the game, even though I didn’t know in what capacity,” she said. “It was an opportunity to be home (in Colorado) and stay in the game and it was a natural transition for me.”
Coming from a family with six siblings, being around kids is nothing new for Sutton. Her mother has 13 brothers and sisters.
With only four games remaining, beginning with Saturday’s home game against Texas Tech, Sutton is looking forward to March.
“I see our team doing big things in the future,” she said, “but for now we need to take it one day at a time.”
Something a coach might say.