Chandler Hutchison won’t be in the audience after all at the NBA Draft Thursday evening. He’ll be back in the green room after receiving an official invitation from the league (and will be accompanied by his Boise State coach, Leon Rice).Hutchison was on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday and said he’s set to wear a navy blue tux and bow tie and is nailing down his shoe selection. He says it’s been interesting reading his profiles in different mock drafts. “People do their homework a little bit, but they haven’t had as close an eye on me as those other (Power 5) guys,” said Hutchison. “Nobody knows my game better than me.” So how would be write his own draft profile? “I’m a player who knows how to win,” Hutchison said. “My experience, my versatility, and how I play the game. On the court, they won’t have to compromise anything.”
Mountain West Wire, the online fan site, has resurrected a February story about Hutchison’s days at Mission Viejo High as the draft approaches. “He had to wait his turn to be ‘the guy,’” said Jon Solovy, one of Hutchison’s high school coaches. He was on the freshman team most of his first year with the Diablos, and was on the junior varsity squad for most of his sophomore season. Hutchison wasn’t even a top scorer for Mission Viejo until his senior year. “Not until his junior year did Chandler become a name other schools got to know for scouting reports,” Solovy said. “(We) couldn’t believe the lack of attention he was getting.” The moral of the story: Hutchison was a late-bloomer in high school and a late-bloomer in college—if the team that drafts him has faith in him, there could be huge dividends in, say, Year 3.
The State Board of Education meeting beginning tomorrow in Idaho Falls affects Boise State long-term in multiple sports. The board is expected to approve the Broncos’ plans for development of the new $8-10 million baseball stadium that would be located just south of Albertsons Stadium in the area roughly bordered by Denver, Belmont, Euclid and Beacon. And there’s a three-year extension on the table for the university’s agreement with Learfield Sports that would take it through 2028. The additional three years add $17,450,000 to the contract, and the new terms of the agreement represent, in effect a $6.45 million raise for Boise State over the next 10 years. The benefit for Learfield centers around new opportunities for alcohol sales at sporting events.
For a guy who never got along with coach Adam Gase in Miami, Jay Ajayi seems to have a glowing relationship with Doug Pederson in Philadelphia. The former Boise State star has earned it, coming into the Eagles’ OTAs and ensuing minicamp in outstanding shape. At the end of the mandatory minicamp last Thursday, Pederson announced Ajayi will be Philly’s No. 1 running back heading into training camp in six weeks. “He proved he can handle it,” said Pederson. Ajayi is entering his contract year, so a big season would mean big money. He’ll be sporting a new number this year, moving from No. 36 to No. 26 (too bad it couldn’t be No. 27, his old number with the Broncos). And Ajayi will also be sporting the new Eagles Super Bowl ring players received at the end of minicamp. It is massive.
These are uncomfortable times at Fresno State, despite the success of coach Jeff Tedford in reviving the Bulldogs football program. The university has been without an athletic director since last November, and the guy it forced to resign, Jim Bartko, has filed a $3 million claim against Fresno State. Bartko alleges university President Joseph Castro engaged in a “whisper campaign,” secretly telling boosters that Bartko “was going to get fired because he was an alcoholic and he wasn’t doing his job.” According to the Fresno Bee, Bartko also says Castro and Vice President Deborah Adishian-Astone were upset with him for hiring Tedford without consulting Castro and Adishian-Astone over terms of the coach’s contract. This comes just as Fresno State is interviewing five finalists for the AD’s job.
The Mountain West doesn’t have a “commissioner’s cup” like the WAC, awarded to the most successful overall athletic program in the conference. But there is the Learfield Director’s Cup, which rates the programs of 282 Division I schools. The standings won’t be final until the College World Series is over, but the pecking order has been determined for the Mountain West. Boise State is first at No. 58, followed by New Mexico at 63 and Air Force at 66. The Broncos are tops among Group of 5 schools, and the MW is the only Group of 5 league with three schools in the top 70, although the two highest-ranked non-power conference schools were Princeton at No. 38 and Denver at No. 44. Kudos to Boise State athletic director Curt Apsey and staff and coaches and athletes and support staff and everyone else.
With a 3-2 victory last night, the Boise Hawks have clinched their first series win on the road at Spokane in six years. The Hawks are now 3-1 with one more contest at Avista Stadium tonight before tomorrow night’s home opener in Boise. One takeaway from the first four games of the series: the uneven start by Riley Pint Saturday night in the Hawks’ 6-1 loss. Pint, the Colorado Rockies’ top pick—and fourth overall—in the 2016 MLB Draft, tossed three innings of hitless ball and struck out five, but he issued four walks, and a wild pitch led to an unearned run that cost him the decision. The 20-year-old righthander from Overland Park, KS, is now 3-18 in his professional career. But surely there are things from Saturday night’s stint that Pint can build on.
A couple of notables on the transaction wire, as Sofia Huerta was involved in a three-way trade yesterday in the NWSL. The Centennial High grad, who has played in 77 games the past three seasons for the Chicago Red Stars, ends up with the Houston Dash. Huerta has 22 career goals and eight assists. Also, the Idaho Steelheads have their first signed player for the 2018-19 season, and he happens to be last season’s leading goal-scorer. Forward Steve McParland, who tallied 31 times for the Steelies, will return for his second season in Boise.
This Day In Sports…June 19, 2015:
After 3½ years at the helm at Boise State, athletic director Mark Coyle is announced as the new AD at Syracuse. Coyle had replaced the man who had been in the chair for 29 years, Gene Bleymaier, and was credited for keeping the Bronco ship on track. Coyle’s one major hire was football coach Bryan Harsin, the Boise native who would go on to lead the Broncos to a Fiesta Bowl championship in his first season. Just four days later, Curt Apsey, Boise State’s senior associate athletic director from 1998-2014, returned after an 8½-month stint as AD at Carroll College in Montana to replace Coyle. Apsey, a renowned fundraiser, was key to a number of BSU facilities upgrades, including the Steuckle Sky Center.
(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.)