There have been some easy Mountain West Player of the Week decisions in the conference office over the last 18½ years, but this has to be at the top. Chandler Hutchison earned his third league honor of the season after his mind-boggling 44-point night in Boise State’s 83-80 win over San Diego State Saturday night. Hutchison’s timeline went like this. He scored the Broncos first 16 points of the game. He notched his 20th point with 2½ minutes left in the first half. He hit the 25-point mark 38 seconds before halftime. He reached 30 points 5½ minutes into the second half. Then Hutchison collected his 40th, 41st and school record-tying 42nd point on a three-pointer with 4:15 left. And he broke Ron Austin’s 47-year-old mark on a pair of clutch free throws with 14.8 seconds remaining.
You start to wonder where Hutchison sits on Boise State’s career scoring list. If you watched him in his first two seasons, you won’t be surprised that he is only 12th in school history with 1,195 points. Rewind two seasons to Hutchison’s sophomore year. With the Bronco attack built around James Webb III and Anthony Drmic, Hutchison was still in his formative stages. He started only seven of 31 games, averaging 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds. He scored in double figures eight times with a high of 19 against NAIA Concordia (a game in which Boise State scored 100 points). Hutchison had two double-doubles that season. Put it all together, and you have the story of a guy who—through hard work and with the help of solid coaching—has developed over four years the way no other Bronco ever has.
Webb hasn’t played a game in the NBA yet, but that could change soon. He has signed a two-way contract with Brooklyn, enabling him to split time with the Nets and their G-League affiliate, Long Island. Webb had been playing for Philadelphia’s G-League team, the Delaware 87ers, where he averaged 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 21 games this season. He went undrafted after leaving Boise State following his All-Mountain West junior season in 2015-16.
Boise State doesn’t have its quarterback yet for the 2018 recruiting class. But if the Broncos don’t get a commitment from Brock Purdy of Gilbert, AZ, it’s not for lack of trying. After his weekend campus visit, Purdy tweeted Sunday evening, “HUGE thanks to the Boise State family for making my official trip amazing! Love the culture and program!!” The weather was good, and the basketball game Saturday night had to be inspiring. Scout.com reports that Purdy plans to visit Iowa State and/or Oregon State before the traditional National Letter of Intent Day on February 7. The 2017 Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year also has an offer from UCF (you know, the national champion).
Former Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates is no longer the interim head coach at Arizona, but he is not out of a job with the Wildcats. UA hired Kevin Sumlin to replace the fired Rich Rodriguez, and reports say Sumlin will keep Yates aboard as his D-coordinator. When Yates left the Broncos the first time after the 2011 season, it was Sumlin who hired him as co-defensive coordinator at Texas A&M. Yates returned to Boise State to become Bryan Harsin’s DC in 2014 before joining Rodriguez in Tuscon two years ago. Now Yates is in the right place at the right time, as his established relationship with Sumlin pays dividends (and Arizona players, who supported him as the new head coach, are ecstatic).
Just when coach Jeff Tedford appears to have Fresno State football in renaissance mode comes word that the university has shelved a $60 million plan to renovate Bulldog Stadium. The project was announced in June of 2015 by athletic director Jim Bartko, who was forced to resign in November. It has to be a blow to Tedford, who had made the stadium renderings a centerpiece of recruiting. Included in the plan were a “Bulldog District” around the stadium with a pre-game festival zone, renovation of the seating bowl to create easier access, the addition of suites, a stadium club and a new press box, among other things. Instead, the first priority now is to find the cause of crumbling concrete on the east side of the stadium. The Mountain West has to be disappointed, too—it needs a strong Fresno State program.
Taysom Hill’s first NFL season is over, and it finished as oddly Sunday as it had gone for much of the campaign. Hill, of course, is a former BYU quarterback. But he played special teams for New Orleans this season while serving as the team’s No. 3 signal-caller. The Highland High grad from Pocatello was almost a hero in the Saints’ divisional playoff game at Minnesota Sunday. Almost. In the fourth quarter, Hill was rushing the punter and forced Ryan Quigley to alter his kick, and it was deflected by teammate George Johnson. New Orleans would then get what looked like a clinching field goal with 1:04. Of course, that was just before Case Keenum’s miracle 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs on the last play of the game to win it for the Vikings. Hill finished the season with four special teams tackles.
The U.S. Olympic team is coming together for the Winter Games in PyeongChang next month, and former Boise State trackster Nick Cunningham is on it again. Cunningham is one of 12 bobsledders named to Team USA, ensuring a third trip to the Olympics for the one-time Bronco 200-meter specialist. He’ll serve as one of three pilots for American sleds in both the two-man and four-man bobsled. Former Idaho Vandal sprinter Sam Michener also made the team and will be part of Cunningham’s four-man sled. Cunningham, who has posted four top-15 finishes in Olympic competition, is only the second former Boise State athlete to make three Olympiads. The other was high jumper Troy Kemp, who represented the Bahamas in the Summer Games in 1988, 1992 and 1996.
So last night this headline appears as the lead story at IdahoStatesman.com: “Nampa could get a food plant next to the Idaho Center. But it could lose this event.” Adjacent to it is a photo of the Snake River Stampede. Click bait. “This event” is not the Snake River Stampede, it’s a show for Arabian horses. But that’s the newspaper website world we live in. The click is the driver. That’s why you don’t see any coverage of the Idaho Steelheads, Boise Hawks, College of Idaho and NNU anymore. Because supposedly not enough people care about them. (Wasn’t it the Steelheads who drew a combined 10,000 fans in two games at CenturyLink Arena over the weekend?) Sorry, Statesman friends. That one really bugged me.
This Day In Sports…January 16, 2015:
The late Joe Paterno is once again the winningest coach in major college football history, as the NCAA restores 112 Penn State victories that had been wiped out during the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. The NCAA had eliminated all wins from 1998—when police first investigated a mother’s complaint against Sandusky—through 2011, Paterno’s final season as coach after six decades with the team, and the year Sandusky was charged. Paterno passed away in January, 2012.
(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.)