Chandler Hutchison has a message for Bulls Nation
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had barely finished pronouncing the "ch" in Chandler Hutchison and the Boise State men's basketball team was already on its feet.
This was a victory past and present Broncos could relish together.
Hutchison became the first, first-round pick in program history when the Chicago Bulls selected the former Boise State star with the 22nd overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
"It's always good to see someone you played with, someone you know, a friend just get drafted to that level and see his dreams come true. It was just an awesome moment for the whole team and the program as a whole," Boise State junior Justinian Jessup said. "My heart was racing just sitting on the couch here. I can't imagine what he was feeling. Just to see him get up there, get on the stage and shake the commissioner's hand, that was crazy."
Hutchison is the seventh Bronco ever taken in the draft and the first since Roberto Bergersen was chosen by the Atlanta Hawks with the 52nd pick in 1999.
“I couldn’t be happier for Chandler and his family,” said Boise State head coach Leon Rice, who was in New York for the draft. “To see years of hard work culminate in a moment like tonight is truly something special. The Chicago Bulls are getting an unselfish, versatile player who will not only be a tremendous addition on the court, but will also be an individual who makes a positive impact in the community of Chicago. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Chandler as he starts his professional career with a first-class organization like the Bulls.”
As a senior at Boise State, Hutchison became the first player in program history to lead the Broncos in points (20.0), rebounds (7.7), assists (3.5) and steals (1.5). He broke the Broncos' single-game scoring record with 44 points against eventual Mountain West Tournament champion San Diego State on Jan. 13, signaling a complete metamorphosis from the freshman who averaged just 3.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.
"Seeing everything he did and all the hard work he put in, I knew he was going to be a NBA player. I think we all did here at Boise State. Just seeing that now come true is kind of a surreal moment," said Boise State redshirt junior Malek Harwell, who also was Hutchison's roommate.
Hutchison wrapped up his Boise State career this spring tied for first in career wins with 87. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native ranks among the program's career top 10 in points (ninth with 1,478) and rebounds (sixth with 672).
"I've just had a bunch of people in my corner the whole time I've been at Boise State that just believed in me, even if I didn't see the initial success right away," Hutchison said during the ESPN broadcast after he was picked. "I continued to work for it. As soon as I kind of made that decision that I wanted to be (in the NBA), I wanted to really commit 100 percent to getting to that next level. I just started to become obsessed with working and wanting to achieve the ultimate goal.”
With Hutchison's selection Thursday night, Boise State is just the third current Mountain West Conference school to have a first-rounder in both football and basketball in the same season. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was the 19th overall selection in the NFL Draft in April.
Utah accomplished the same feat in 2005 with Alex Smith and Andrew Bogut, and Fresno State followed in 2010 with Ryan Matthews and Paul George, although the Bulldogs were in the Western Athletic Conference at the time.
"It just shows us that it's not impossible. Everything's possible if you put hard work and dedication into it like he did," Harwell said. "For us teammates being here with him and seeing that, it gives us great confidence in knowing that it is possible to do whatever you put your mind to. There's great inspiration behind this."
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