Hutchison didn't mind taking a longer path to basketball stardom

 
 
Updated 6/25/2018 4:04 PM
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  • Chicago Bulls draft picks Wendell Carter Jr., (34) and Chandler Hutchison (15) share the stage with team executive from left, head coach Fred Hoiberg, general manager Gar Forman and executive vice president for basketball operations John Paxson.

    Chicago Bulls draft picks Wendell Carter Jr., (34) and Chandler Hutchison (15) share the stage with team executive from left, head coach Fred Hoiberg, general manager Gar Forman and executive vice president for basketball operations John Paxson. Associated Press

  • Chicago Bulls first-round draft pick Chandler Hutchison responds to a question from reporters Monday in Chicago.

    Chicago Bulls first-round draft pick Chandler Hutchison responds to a question from reporters Monday in Chicago. Associated Press

  • Tanya and Charles Hutchison listen to their son, Chicago Bulls first-round draft pick Chandler Hutchison, during a news conference Monday in Chicago.

    Tanya and Charles Hutchison listen to their son, Chicago Bulls first-round draft pick Chandler Hutchison, during a news conference Monday in Chicago. Associated Press

The first time John Paxson watched Chandler Hutchison play, he went head-to-head against current Bulls guard Denzel Valentine in a tournament at Cal-Irvine.

Hutchison, a sophomore at the time, had a quiet game, scoring 1 point in 14 minutes. When Valentine became a first-round draft pick the following summer, Hutchison's mother Tanya admitted wondering, "Why him?"

"I know we played against Stanley Johnson, who was one and done at Arizona, and Denzel Valentine," Tanya Hutchison said Monday at the Advocate Center. "I began to say, 'Why isn't Chandler there?'

"As a mom, I'm thinking, 'Oh, they're passing him over. How can they?' But he was like, 'Mom, I'm OK.' He would remind me in his own time, he would get there."

And Hutchison did get there, chosen by the Bulls with the No. 22 overall draft pick. He took his time developing in both high school and college, not playing varsity until his junior year at Mission Viejo (Calif.) High School. At Boise State, he was a reserve for two years before blossoming into a star and averaging 20 points as a senior.

"I was looked past multiple times," Hutchison said Monday. "That's one thing that got me here. I just think there's something in my DNA, whenever something like that come up, I just carry that chip on my shoulder and it motivates me. It doesn't matter (where he's ranked as a player), I just want to be the hardest worker in the whatever gym I'm in and I just carried myself as if I was the best player."

Hutchison stuck to hoops:

Mission Viejo has a history of producing accomplished athletes. There are nine Mission Viejo grads who played in the NFL. U.S. soccer star Julie Foudy, golfer Mark O'Meara and former Bulls assistant coach Bob Thornton are also alums.

Chandler Hutchison had to wait his turn in high school, which is one reason why he was lightly recruited and ended up at Boise State. His mother Tanya said he turned down a bright future in another sport.

"He only liked basketball," she said. "We introduced him to tennis and the coach felt he was such a natural and really wanted him to pursue tennis and we got excited because we have friends who are pro tennis players. But he decided basketball was the only sport he wanted to play."

Summer league awaits:

The Bulls will hold a minicamp next week to prepare for the Las Vegas summer league. Besides rookies Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison, the only current Bulls who might play are last season's two-way players, Antonio Blakeney and Ryan Arcidiacono. Loyola's Donte Ingram has committed to play for the Bulls summer squad.

Coach Fred Hoiberg said Kris Dunn and Cristiano Felicio are planning to participate in some of the summer practices, but won't play in Las Vegas.

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