Could it be that Chandler Hutchison’s “promise” (assuming there is one) that steered him toward pulling out of the NBA Draft Combine actually came not from Portland, but from Chicago? Sources tell NBADraft.net that it is indeed the Bulls who have assured Hutchison that they’ll take him with the No. 22 overall pick in the draft next month. If NBADraft.net’s latest mock draft is correct, the former Boise State star would be the lone senior to hear his name called on June 21. What NBA clubs like about Hutchison is his disciplined approach to basketball. “He underperformed as a shooter, but teams remain high on his ability to knock down shots,” writes Aran Smith. “Hutchison would give the Bulls a mature scorer on the wing, and they figure to go with a big or a point guard with the seventh overall pick.”
Draft experts (NFL and NBA) like to compare prospects to players who have come before them in the pro game. Remember Leighton Vander Esch and Brian Urlacher last month? NBADraft.net compares Hutchison to Landry Fields. So what about Landry Fields? He’s the former Stanford standout who went on to play for the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors from 2010-15. Fields, who played for one-time Bronco Trent Johnson with the Cardinal, was a 6-7 small forward, same as Hutchison. Fields’ best season was his rookie year, when he averaged 9.7 points and 6.4 rebounds while playing all 82 games for the Knicks. Fields graduated from Los Alamitos High in Southern California—he was a classmate of former Boise State football standouts Orlando Scandrick and Jeremy Childs.
A Scott Slant reader sent me what she felt was bulletin board material over the weekend. It’s from a CBSSports.com story headlined, “Big 12 strength of schedule rankings: Texas faces tough road; Oklahoma State gets it easy.” Tom Fornelli ranks the Cowboys’ schedule the weakest in the conference (they also face Missouri State and South Alabama). “If Oklahoma State wins the Big 12 this season, you can bet its schedule will be used against it in a court of CFP worthiness,” writes Fornelli. “The nonconference features a home game against Boise State, but that’s not worth as much as it may have been five years ago.” I beg your pardon, but it would mean a helluva lot to OSU if the Broncos go into the September 15 matchup ranked higher than the Cowboys. (Hey, Boise State will take bulletin board material any way it can.)
Jamar Taylor is settling in with Arizona—in effect, he’s debuting with the NFL club today as the second half of the Cardinals’ May OTAs begins. The former Boise State star was traded Friday from the Cleveland Browns, where he played the last two seasons. Taylor had a couple of pretty good years in Cleveland, all things considered. While the Browns were going a combined 1-31, he posted 119 tackles and had three interceptions. In his first three seasons in Miami, Taylor made just 82 tackles and had nary a pick. He’s grateful for the second chance represented by the past two seasons. “Going to Cleveland, it was definitely hard,” said Taylor on Idaho SportsTalk. “But those guys in that building—they don’t reflect that record at all.”
Can you believe the seismic change in the Las Vegas sports scene? While the Raiders lie in wait, the Vegas Golden Knights have made history by becoming the first expansion franchise ever to earn its way into the Stanley Cup Finals (the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues don’t count). And can you believe it was just four years ago the Idaho Steelheads were mixing it up with the Las Vegas Wranglers in the ECHL? The Wranglers tried to keep it going beyond 2014, but Orleans Arena wouldn’t renew their lease, and plans to build a rooftop arena at the Plaza Hotel and Casino were rightfully deemed to be unfeasible. Now, as the Golden Knights go historic, the Wranglers are barely a footnote. And UNLV basketball has had to deal with the immense popularity of another winter sport in town.
As the San Diego State stadium issue festers—at least until the ballot initiative this November that will decide between a proposed new 35,000-seat SDSU stadium and a 33,500-seat SoccerCity stadium that the university would use—the first concern is whether the Aztecs will have a place to play in 2019. There have been fears that SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) would be demolished next year, with San Diego State’s and the Holiday Bowl’s leases with the facility expiring after this season. “It is a bit confusing, and of course, we lead the league in confusion,” writes San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Nick Canepa. But Canepa reports that Aztecs athletic director J.D. Wicker is optimistic the university and the bowl game can get a lease extension of up to two years.
The Boise State women’s softball team flinched once it reached the big stage, losing 8-0 to Washington and 11-3 to Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament over the weekend. But just getting there speaks another volume in the growth of women’s sports at Boise State. The softball program is only 10 years old and coach Cindy Ball, after taking her lumps her first two seasons, reached the Mountain West mountaintop in her fourth. The Bronco women are sending 12 athletes to the NCAA West Preliminaries this week in track and field. They’re coming off their third Mountain West basketball championship in four seasons, as well as another swimming and diving title. The gymnastics team has won four straight Mountain Rim championships. Almost every Boise State women’s sport is unprecedentedly healthy.
ICYMI, Kendra Reeves of Twin Falls is a national Golden Gloves boxing champion. A year ago, Reeves weighed about 220 pounds and had never played competitive sports. Then Reeves picked up boxing, and—in a stunning rise to the top—she won the 152-pound title in the national tournament Saturday night in Omaha over Stephanie Malone, the top-ranked female boxer in the world in that weight class. Reeves survived two standing eight counts and a swollen eye in the first round before bouncing back to dominate Malone over the final two rounds to win the bout.
This Day In Sports…May 22, 1943:
The birthday of a major league pitcher who’d become better known for a medical procedure than his solid performances on the mound. Tommy John played for six teams over 26 seasons and won 288 games, the sixth-most among left-handers in big league history. John missed the 1975 season after undergoing revolutionary surgery the previous September to replace the damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm with a tendon from his right forearm. It became known as “Tommy John surgery” and is now a common operation in multiple sports. Tommy John…75 years old today.
(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.)