The Boise State men’s basketball team hasn’t even played a game yet this season, and senior guard Chandler Hutchison is already making history.
Hutchison became the first Boise State player to be named Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year since the Broncos joined the conference in 2011.
“He’s become one of the best finishers maybe in the country around the hoop, and that takes a lot of toughness,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said of Hutchison in preseason interviews. “He’s checking all those boxes, and we’re going to make him tougher. He’s going to be a better player in March than he is right now. That’s our goal for him.”
The Broncos were picked to finish third in a preseason poll released Wednesday, which was voted on by 24 media members who cover the league.
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Defending regular-season and tournament champion Nevada landed in the No. 1 spot with 19 first-place votes and 257 points. San Diego State came in second with two first-place votes and 229 points. Boise State received two first-place votes and 211 points.
In 2015, Boise State’s Derrick Marks was chosen as the Mountain West player of the year at the end of the season.
As a junior last season, Hutchison earned first-team all-conference accolades after starting all 32 games and averaging 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
The 6-foot-7, 197-pound guard ranked second in the Mountain West in field-goal percentage (49.5), fourth in scoring and sixth in rebounding. The native of Mission Viejo, Calif., recorded nine double-doubles and reached double-digit scoring in 29 games.
In the offseason, Hutchison declared for the NBA Draft without hiring an agent. He attended private workouts with several NBA teams but ended up withdrawing from the draft to return to Boise for his senior season.
“Ultimately, my goal is to make the NBA. That’s something that I’ve set for myself these past few years and really worked towards doing, but that’s 300-and-something days from now,” Hutchison said earlier this month. “The biggest goal for me now while I’m still here is to win a Mountain West championship.”
Rounding out the all-Mountain West preseason team are Nevada junior guard/forward Jordan Caroline, San Diego State senior guard Trey Kell, Utah State sophomore guard Koby McEwen and Wyoming junior guard Justin James.
UNLV forward Brandon McCoy was named the preseason freshman of the year, and Nevada junior forward Caleb Martin was tabbed the newcomer of the year.
Boise State opens the season Thursday, Nov. 2, with an exhibition game against College of Idaho. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Taco Bell Arena.
Mountain West Preseason Poll
Team (1st-place votes)
1. Nevada (19)
2. San Diego State (2)
3. Boise State (2)
4. Fresno State
5. Colorado State
6. UNLV (1)
8. Utah State
9. New Mexico
10. San Jose State
11. Air Force