Chandler Hutchison is turning heads for the Boise State Broncos during the 2017-18 college basketball season.
Hutchison is averaging 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game this season. He’s also shooting 39 percent from behind the arc and has made 16 threes in the process.
According to Sports Illustrated, “Chandler Hutchison gallops in the open court. He can glide the length of a dining room table with a single bound. The 6’7” Boise State senior’s strides are so long, he only needs three springy dribbles to reach the rim from halfcourt. And that includes the ability to pull off a shifty crossover at the top of the key and explode into a vicious one-handed jam.”
Hutchison has helped lead the Broncos to a 12-2 record. Their losses have come against the Iowa State Cyclones and SMU Mustangs.
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The Trail Blazers’ superstar chatted with Hutchison after the game, all 210 pounds of him. Hutchison was no longer the gangly sophomore Lillard met two summers prior. An NBA general manager in attendance told Lillard he viewed the Broncos’ centerpiece as a solid second-round draft prospect. Lillard reported back to Boise State associate head coach Phil Beckner, texting a shrug emoji. “And he’s like, ‘Well, Phil, that’s what they said about me,’” Beckner told The Front Office.
As if Beckner could forget. He first taught Lillard the pick-and-roll intricacies at Weber State he’s now mastered in Portland. The former Wildcats assistant coach ripped an eight-minute DVD during Lillard’s freshman year, showcasing Steve Nash, Tony Parker and Deron Williams each running 10 high ball-screen actions. “That was the beginning of everything,” Lillard told SI in 2012. “I wanted to do what those guys were doing.” Nearly a decade later, Beckner has helped mold his next bonafide NBA draft sleeper in Hutchison.
“I don’t think he’s a Lillard, because that dude’s a killer,” Beckner said. At the 2012 draft combine, Lillard’s opening day performance was so dominant, his agents advised he skip the following afternoon. Lillard rebuffed, arriving for day two hungrier than the previous outing. “Chandler has that stuff,” Beckner said. It’s a secret ingredient, when mixed with a dose of Beckner, that seems to morph mid-major talents into studs.
Hutchison didn’t start his career that way. He posted two pedestrian seasons at Boise State as an underclassman. Having physically dominated high school competition, he’d never needed to refine a perimeter skillset. Mountain West defenses changed that, and Hutchison maxed out at 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2015–16, shooting a putrid 23.1% from deep. Yet the Broncos still felt they harbored a star. “Back in one of my own notes about him is, ‘We have to get him to discover his hidden treasures,’” said head coach Leon Rice. He hired Beckner a few weeks after the season concluded, and handed him a shovel. Boise State needed to unearth Hutchison’s talents if it hoped to repeat a 20-win campaign.
No matter what happens in the NBA draft, if Hutchison becomes anything like Damian Lillard, then his future team is in store for quite the treat. After all, Lillard is averaging 22.6 points, 6.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game for his career. This season, he’s putting up 25.2 points per contest.