This was a surprise yesterday, but it makes sense if you really think about it. Boise State senior-to-be Chandler Hutchison has declared for the NBA Draft, but he will not hire an agent. That allows Hutchison to return to the Broncos if he withdraws from the draft by May 24. “Our coaches have informed me that NBA teams are expressing interest, and I feel that I need to take advantage of the opportunity to be evaluated and find out where I truly stand,” the All-Mountain West swing man said in a statement. “Playing in the NBA is the goal that drives me every day and this process is the next step toward making it a reality.” Interpretation: Hutchison gets evaluation, instruction and guidance that will strengthen his game as a senior and prime him for a real run at the NBA a year from now.
Hutchison will seek invitations to work out for NBA teams beginning April 25. He’ll also have a shot at being included in the NBA Draft Combine May 9-14. Hutchison would project as a guard in the NBA, and his 6-7 height is more than sufficient. He carried the Broncos for stretches this season while averaging 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds, up from 6.8 points and 4.1 boards during his sophomore year. An important number: Hutchison shot 49.5 percent from the field this past season. He didn’t launch much from three-point range, but he did hit 37.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Hutchison does not appear on any mock draft lists. But hey, maybe the NBA will really like him. So does Boise State look for an insurance plan with the first day of basketball’s National Letter of Intent period set to begin tomorrow? The Broncos have an immediate hole to fill anyway with Tacoma’s Roberto Gittens having decommitted over the weekend. Coach Leon Rice is not standing idly by. There are some visitors on the Boise State campus right now.
At the age of 72, Steve Fisher has decided it is time. The veteran coach is retiring from San Diego State, with the university scheduling a news conference this afternoon to introduce Brian Dutcher, the Aztecs’ “head coach-in-waiting” since 2011, as Fisher’s replacement. Reports say Fisher had been working as hard as ever since the end of SDSU’s disappointing 19-14 season, but around Final Four time he was non-committal on a return. Fisher just finished his 18th season at San Diego State. He came west in 1999 after being fired at Michigan, the school he led to the 1989 national championship. Fisher’s first Aztecs team went 5-23, but he has since guided SDSU to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and to national rankings that reached as high as No. 4 during a 34-3 season in 2010-11.
Accuracy was not the strong suit of Boise State’s quarterbacks Saturday in the Blue & Orange Game. Sure the bone-numbing wind had an effect, as the temperature dropped to 40 and the rain fell sideways after the storm front came through. But that could be the case on almost any November day. Brett Rypien was 18-of-31 with an interception for 154 yards in the game. The Broncos have to hope that 58 percent passing is not the new normal, considering the errant end to Rypien’s 2016 season. To be fair, he was breaking in a new set of wide receivers with Cedrick Wilson sidelined, and he did thread the needle masterfully a few times on Saturday. Rypien is good, to be sure. But taking the next step during his junior year is crucial.
The Broncos’ mystery receiving corps is missing one of its building blocks. Bubba Ogbebor, the 6-0, 193-pounder from Frisco, TX, who had one reception for eight yards in the Blue & Orange Game, announced via Twitter yesterday that he’s transferring out of the program. Hopes were high for Ogbebor in fall camp last year—so much so that he was activated as a true freshman. But he went the entire season without a catch. With a redshirt year to use, Ogbebor will be a sophomore in eligibility in 2018 after sitting out the upcoming season, assuming he lands at an FBS school.
More wrapup from the Boise State spring game: Jake Roh’s first-quarter injury was disconcerting. It was described as a high-ankle sprain, one that will heal before the Broncos gather again for real in a little less than four months. It came at the end of a drive that featured a classic 15-yard Roh catch that converted a third down. Boise State offensive coordinator Zak Hill clearly wanted to get the tight ends involved. John Bates and Chase Blakley each had three receptions, with Blakley providing the highlight of the day with a 24-yard catch that ended with a hurdle over a defensive back.
Boise State’s special teams didn’t have much opportunity to show their wares Saturday. Joel Velasquez, who’s replacing both Tyler Rausa as placekicker and Sean Wale as punter, did get his chances. Velasquez, the redshirt freshman from Mission Viejo, CA, made field goals from 49 and 26 yards out—and he connected on punts of 55 and 45 yards into a crosswind. The wind did beat Velasquez on a couple field goal attempts, one of them a 51-yarder that was caught by the wind and looked like it was making a beeline for the Broadway Bridge. David Moa beat him on another field goal try, tipping a 41-yarder.
Hard to believe it’s been almost four years since Titus Young went through his unbelievable police blotter run, including three arrests in one week’s time in May of 2013, three months after he was granted a last chance with the St. Louis Rams. Now it’s come to this: a four-year prison sentence for the former Boise State star, resulting from a more recent transgression, a felony battery charge in January of last year. Young has been through mental health facilities, drug rehab, and probation. The long-term consequences have come home to roost now for a guy who is still only 27 years old. He was the Broncos’ career receiving yards leader until Thomas Sperbeck broke his record last year. Young was a second-round draft pick of Detroit in 2012—his promising NFL career blew up about a year and a half later.
This Day In Sports…April 11, 2014:
The Los Angeles Lakers set a team record for futility, losing their 54th game of the season in a 112-95 loss to the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers would finish the season 27-55. Then they’d break that sorry mark in each of the following two seasons, going 21-61 and 17-65, respectively. This game was symbolic of the power shift in the NBA, as the Warriors’ Stephen Curry scored 30 points with 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Golden State would win its first NBA championship in 40 years the next season.
(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.)