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Chandler Hutchison: We’ve got to believe he still has it

Chandler Hutchison’s three-year NBA career has been uneven at best. It’s not too late for him to turn the corner. We just don’t know what all’s at work.
Credit: AP
Washington Wizards center Alex Len (27), Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis (11), and Washington Wizards forward Chandler Hutchison (1) go for the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 29, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, May 6, 2021.

Johnny Mallory called it the “Curious Case of Chander Hutchison” Wednesday on KTIK. The game in the evening was an example. Hutchison played just three minutes and went scoreless in Washington’s 135-134 loss in Milwaukee. In a win over Indiana Monday night, Hutchison put up his best numbers since his Wizards debut at the end of March, going 5-for-7 from the field, making his only three-point attempt and scoring 13 points. And that was the fourth straight game the former Boise State star had played after sporadic appearances through most of April. But there is an explanation: Hutchison left Wednesday’s game with a knee bruise late in the first quarter. I was thinking the highlight-reel dunk he threw down against the Lakers last week could be a turning point for him.  Maybe it still can be.

Wizards beat reporter Chase Hughes said on IST Wednesday that the team is still high on Hutchison. “What they really like about him is his athleticism—and he really is a smart guy,” Hughes said. Whatever was happening with him off the court before he was traded from Chicago hasn’t been identified. The Bulls said he was out for “personal reasons” on February 8, and he never played for the team again. Was that a factor in his Wizards absences last month? Hughes isn’t so sure. “I really think he’s been revitalized and has a positive outlook on thing,” said Hughes.

LOGAN THOMAS: VAGUELY FAMILIAR

John Bates has talked this week about getting to know Logan Thomas, the incumbent starter at tight end for the Washington Football Team. Thomas won’t have to ask Bates, “Now what school are you from again?” Thomas was a quarterback in college. As a redshirt freshman at Virginia Tech, he backed up Tyrod Taylor and watched from the sideline as Boise State rallied for a 33-30 win over the Hokies in that nationally-televised Labor Day thriller. Thomas was drafted in the fourth round by Arizona in 2014. His career stats as a QB: 3-for-11 for 124 yards and a touchdown. Thomas switched to tight end with Detroit in 2016, but it wasn’t until last season that he actually took root at the position. He made 72 catches, 56 more than his previous career best, and scored six touchdowns.

BONAFIDE MOMENTUM FOR MERRITT

Troy Merritt is playing Quail Hollow this week. Not that Quail Hollow. This one is the legendary course in Charlotte that hosts the Wells Fargo Championship. The Meridian resident has some momentum (it’s amazing what a top 10 finish will do). Merritt jumped from No. 151 to No. 130 in the FedExCup standings after tying for eighth last week at the Valspar Championship. There’s a lot of time left in the PGA Tour season, but that puts him up near the cutline for the FedExCup Playoffs. The top 125 move on to the Northern Trust in August—those at Nos. 126-200 go to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals (including the Albertsons Boise Open) to try to retain their PGA Tour cards.

BRONCOS GOLF IN THE POSTSEASON

This is big news for the Boise State men’s golf team, because it’s not in the spotlight very often. But the Broncos have earned a berth in the NCAA Regionals for ony the second time in their history—and the first time since 1994. Boise State is the the No. 8 seed as an at-large entry in the 14-team Albuquerque Regional, hosted by New Mexico May 17-19. The Broncos are No. 47 nationally in the latest Golfstat rankings. They finished in the top five in six of seven tournaments this season (and sixth place in the other), including a victory at the UC Santa Barbara Collegiate. Props to Boise State coach Dan Potter.

EXCITED FOR EXHIBITIONS?

Is it just me, or is there a little bit of buzz out there for this Boise Hawks season? Few may have cared about this in years past, but there will be interest in a two-game exhibition series against the Idaho Falls Chukars announced on Wednesday. Hey, the Chukars are an in-state rival, right? The first game will be played in Idaho Falls on May 19, and the second is set for Memorial Stadium the following night. I think that with their independent status—and with Gary van Tol in the fold as manager—we’ll see Hawks players who connect with the community. The Hawks are in tune with fans, at least for now. 

NAIA HARDWARE FOR C OF I’S HARDIN

College of Idaho football has its second-ever first-team NAIA All-American. It’s junior safety Taeson Hardin, who averaged eight tackles per game and forced two fumbles during the abbreviated spring season to help the Coyotes claim a share of their second-straight Frontier Conference title. In 21 games as a Yote, Hardin has recorded 100 tackles and four interceptions. Hardin joins Nate Moore, who was a first-team All-America selection in 2015 and 2016 and a second-team selection in 2017.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…May 6, 1931:

A day I make a note of every year—the day the most complete player in baseball history was born. Willie Mays is 90 years old today. Mays broke in as a 20-year-old rookie with the New York Giants in 1951, made the most famous catch in World Series history in 1954, and had the best years of his career in San Francisco after the Giants moved West. The “Say Hey Kid” ended up with 660 career home runs. He was the ultimate five-tool player—he could run, field, throw, hit for average and hit for power.

(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.)

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