Kevin Cutler, The Big Whistle, Garnering National Headlines

Actually, he doesn't look as scary as he usually does in this picture. Also, this one time at Summer League, I called him Ed Hochuli and he chuckled. Then my heart melted.

Kevin Cutler began refereeing as a hobby about eight years ago. He was discovered at a Los Angeles camp by Ed T. Rush, the N.B.A.'s former head of officiating, and began working in the D-League.

Cutler became a curiosity in N.B.A. arenas this season when he worked a half-dozen games as part of a new program to develop younger referees. Seven D-League referees were chosen. They are the top contenders for promotion when the N.B.A. has an opening in its 60-person staff.

Under the agreement with the referees union, the D-League referees worked games in December and January, so Cutler will not officiate in another N.B.A. arena until next season.

Of Cutler's size, Fryer said: "It definitely could help him. Presence helps."

The January game between Washington and Portland was generally well officiated, with no major flare-ups or disputes. At times, Cutler hardly stood out at all - after all, about half of the players on the court were his height or taller. But he towered over Wizards Coach Flip Saunders. He was about a head taller than Joe DeRosa, a veteran referee working the game.

Kevin Cutler's long been known in D-League circles as being a great official.

Now the New York Times knows as well.

Basically, the story seems to be about the NBA shifting toward more athletic officials, but I chose to focus on the parts about "The Big Whistle" Kevin Cutler.

Hopefully he reads RU and lets me know next time he'll be in North Dakota so I can get an  autograph.

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