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February 26, 2013

Hutchison one to keep an eye on

As a freshman, class of 2014 forward Chandler Hutchison of Mission Viejo, Calif., played on the freshman team. His sophomore year was spent on the junior varsity squad.

This season, however, Hutchison worked his way into the varsity rotation as spark-plug sixth-man, and eventually made his way into the starting lineup of the 16th-ranked team in California.

It's not often that major recruits take the lengthened path to varsity basketball that Hutchison did, but there are a few instances when great talent is discovered during the twilight years of a high school basketball career.

With the combination of size and skill that he possesses, Hutchison has the potential to be one of these cases.

Hutchison is a 6-foot-4, 170-pound combo guard prospect who is very long. His season averages of 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds are not indicative of his talent, as the junior is the Diablos' fourth option behind seniors' Evan Zeller, Max Redfield and Sage Stone.

Mission Viejo is 26-4 this season and is awaiting its California State Playoffs opponent. The Diablos lost in the CIF-SS Division 1AA quarterfinals to Inglewood, Calif., (19-9) after squandering a 14-point third quarter lead.

Hutchison was key in helping Mission get to that quarterfinal contest, scoring 14 points on 7 of 11 shooting with six rebounds in a 75-42 thrashing of Palmdale (Calif.) Knight in the first round, and finishing with 16 points on 5 of 8 shooting while pulling down nine boards in a 64-63 win over Orange (Calif.) Lutheran in the second round.

Hutchison knows his role on this years' Diablos squad, and he said that it hasn't changed since his move into the starting role.

"(As a sixth-man) I made sure to bring energy off the bench," he said. "That hasn't changed since becoming a starter. I make sure to keep my teammates involved."

Both him and his coach, Troy Roelen, feel like his biggest strength is attacking the rim off the dribble.

"Chandler is fearless," Roelen said. "If he gets by you on his first step, he's looking to dunk on you."

"My best attribute is attacking the basket," Hutchison said. "My mid-range jump shot is also a strong part of my game."

As for things he's looking to work on, Hutchison is hoping to extend his shooting range. The junior has taken only four 3-pointers all season, making none, with one of them coming as a desperation shot as time expired.

Roelen said if Hutchison can extend his range on a consistent basis, he will be one of the toughest covers in all of Orange County.

Another strength that Hutchison feels separates him from other players is his focus on defense.

"I take defense as a challenge," he said. "I'm usually guarding the other teams' first or second best player."

Hutchison is focused on helping Mission Viejo bring home a state title, but is excited to gain some valuable experience on the AAU circuit this spring and summer.

"I'll be playing for Team Eastbay coached by Perry Webster," he said. "I've never played in the big name tournaments, but it will give me a chance to make a name for myself."

Roelen said that he told Webster he needs Hutchison to play against the best.

"I talked to Perry a few days ago and told him 'I need Chandler on center court' (in AAU)," he said. "I need him to play against the best."

Recruiting wise, Hutchison said he has heard from a few schools, but nothing major yet.

"I took an unofficial visit to UC Irvine," he said. "I have also heard from SLO (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo."

With a good summer and senior year, recruiting is sure to pick up for the talented junior on a much higher and more serious level.

Devin UglandDevin Ugland
GOAZCATS.com West Coast recruiting analyst

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