(TOM SCOTT’S COLUMN WILL RETURN TUESDAY.)
First, the good out of the Boise State men’s basketball team: Chandler Hutchison has decided to return to the Broncos for his senior season. Hutchison officially withdrew his name from the NBA Draft pool yesterday, a positive on the heels of some news that came earlier in the day. He really is the core of the team, and he carried it often during the 2016-17 season. Hutchison ramped up his game exponentially between his sophomore and junior years, going from 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game to 17.4 points and 7.8 boards. Last season he had nine double-doubles, 12 20-point games, two 30-point games and 29 games in double figures.
It’s a wonder more players on the elite fringe don’t do what Hutchison did. Despite not being invited to the NBA Combine, he got to work out for NBA teams and get feedback, evaluation and instruction. “Everything I learned the last month will help me be a better player, teammate and future draft pick,” said Hutchison. If more players get wise to this route, the NCAA and/or the NBA may see it as a loophole to be closed. But, more power to Hutchison. You can tell by his quotes in Boise State’s release what NBA personnel told him. Hutchison says he’ll be working on extending his shooting range and getting stronger. He also says, “The time is right to put my focus back on winning a Mountain West Championship.”
The Hutchison news followed word that Paris Austin has been granted his release from the Boise State basketball program. This one came out of left field. Austin was a sparkplug as a sophomore for the Broncos, averaging 12.3 points a game in slashing fashion. But in 14 of Boise State’s 32 games, it was off the bench. Was that a factor? Austin certainly was effective in that role. His two biggest games as a Bronco came as a non-starter: 25 points at Colorado State in January and 27 versus Wyoming in February. But as a four-star recruit out of high school in Oakland, maybe he expects more. Austin played as a true freshman two years ago, so he has a redshirt year available, .
Boise State is a guard-heavy team as it looks ahead to life without Austin. Three of the Broncos’ returnees are true sophomore guards: Justinian Jessup, Alex Hobbs and Marcus Dickinson. Jessup started 31 of 32 games last season, although his shooting was diminished during the Mountain West schedule. Hobbs and Dickinson saw their roles increase down the stretch, with Hobbs hitting double-figures in four of the Broncos’ final six games, and Dickinson showing a flare for the dramatic, hitting the go-ahead three-pointer in Boise State’s upset of Utah in the NIT.
Paul J Schneider is nearing his 50th anniversary at KBOI, and instead of calling it good, he’s going to pass it on a dead run and keep on goin’. Word comes from Cumulus Broadcasting that Paul J. is one of 24 nominees for the 2017 induction class at the National Radio Hall of Fame. That would be icing on the cake of a career that included 35 years of Boise State football and basketball play-by-play (1973-2008). My favorite line: “Well, they’ll talk about this for years to come, no matter how this play comes out,” right before the Broncos’ all-or-nothing two-point conversion by Ian Johnson in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Good luck to Paul J. In reaching the Hall.
Some catch-up today—Rayshad Lewis, the breakout Utah State wide receiver who announced last month he was leaving the Aggies, has settled on Maryland as his new headquarters. Lewis, the son of former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis, logged 40 receptions, 476 yards and two touchdowns as a USU freshman. He’ll have to sit out next season—then he’ll have three seasons of eligibility with the Terrapins. Lewis will be playing his home games about 30 miles from where his dad starred as a Baltimore Raven for 17 seasons and won two Super Bowls.
Troy Merritt and Graham DeLaet will need to be extra-sharp today to make the cut at The Players Championship. Both Boise State products carded two-over 74’s yesterday in the first round and are tied for 86th. Also on the golf front, US Open Local Qualifying is coming up Sunday at BanBury in Eagle. Boise State freshman Brian Humphreys has already played in another Local Qualifying event in Bend, OR, shooting a two-under 70 Tuesday to tie for fifth and advance to Sectional Qualifying June 5 in Tacoma. Humphreys’ next assignment is NCAA Regionals beginning Monday at Stanford.
At the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Logan last night, Boise State redshirt freshman star Allie Ostrander won the 10,000-meters with a 35:51.20. And (why should this surprise you?), it was the first time Ostrander had ever competed in that event. Elsewhere, NNU is in Monmouth, OR, for the GNAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by Western Oregon. Payton Lewis turns his attention to his specialty, the pole vault, after winning the decathlon last week at the GNAC Multi-Event Championships in Nampa. Lewis is one of the Crusaders’ premiere local athletes. The junior out of Nampa Christian High is the grandson of Ray Lewis, the legendary former Boise Junior College and Boise State track and field coach (and no relation to the man of the same name mentioned above).
College of Idaho is booking a trip to the Oklahoma City Bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championships Opening Round. The Coyotes open against Friends University of Kansas Monday morning. The Yotes qualified by sweeping NAIA West Grouping divisional competition last weekend. And NNU won back-to-back elimination games yesterday at the GNAC Baseball Tournament, 4-3 over Montana State-Billings and 7-3 over Central Washington, to advance to the championship round. The Crusaders will have to beat Western Oregon twice today to defend their conference title.
This Day In Sports…May 12, 2012, five years ago today:
Australian-turned-Oklahoman Rhein Gibson shoots a 16-under-par 55 at River Oaks Country Club in Edmond, OK, believed to be the lowest 18-hole score in history. Gibson recorded 12 birdies and two eagles during his amazing round, with six of the birdies coming in the final seven holes. For comparison’s sake, the lowest round ever in a PGA Tour event is 58, a feat accomplished by Jim Furyk in the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)