By Art Trujillo
Las Vegas Optic
“Mike Shoots,” “Steve Shoots” reads like a custom-made sports newspaper headline for two young men whose basketball talents are well known.
It is true that each Wagon Mound product shoots, but they have also passed off, defended and rebounded. And they have the correct surname, Schutz, pronounced Shoots.
With a scrappy crew of starters in the ‘90s, the Schutz brothers lit up the scoreboard at the Alfred Romero Gym, winning several district titles and going to state often.
The brothers later became starters for Fort Lewis College in Durango. One year they helped their team soundly defeat
Highlands in a Cowboys’ home game. Because they had followed the Schutz brothers during high school, a number of area fans showed up to cheer on the visitors. Some spectators might have wondered whether Fort Lewis was actually the home team at Wilson Complex.
Mike and Steve followed their father’s penchant for basketball, Don’s having starred for Fort Lewis years earlier. “Both boys,” their mother Mary said, — “they inherited their father’s height — followed up and both played four years of college basketball.”
Another highlight of Steve’s tenure at Fort Lewis came when his older brother left the New Mexico State Aggies to play alongside Steve at Fort Lewis. Steve even broke the scoring record when there were still a few games remaining in the season.
Don Schutz, who was inducted into the Fort Lewis Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996, was joined by Steve’s induction in 2003. “That,” Don said, “made us the only father-son Hall of Fame combo in Fort Lewis History.”
Long-time Trojan coach Bobby Clouthier describes the Schutz brothers as “very coachable, the kind of players you want to have. And they were good students.” Clouthier mentioned that although the brothers were much taller than their teammates, “they never acted like they were better than anyone else.” Wagon Mound alumni like Hector Balderas, Eldie Cruz and Manuel Guara “were no more than 5-10,” Clouthier said.
Steve eventually played two years of professional basketball in Switzerland with a team called Cossonay Basket, and La Chaux de Fonds Basket. He averaged 41 points per game one season, and at least once was the main subject of a newspaper article — written in French — about his performances.
Later, Steve brought his talents west, hoping to join the Winnipeg Cyclones in Canada. But he tore a leg muscle a week before the start of the season, which he said, “effectively ended my attempt to play for the Cyclones.”