Melvin R. Hutchins Athlete Profile | BYU Cougar Club

Melvin R. Hutchins Athlete Profile

#14 Melvin R. Hutchins

Position: Center Height: 6-5 Weight: 190 Roster Years: 1946-1948 | 1949-1951 Hometown: Arcadia, CA Hall of Fame: 1976

  • 1976 Men's Basketball 


  • 1950-51 Converse First Team 
  • 1950-51 Helms First Team
  • 1950-51 Look First Team
  • 1950-51 Sporting News First Team
  • 1950-51 UPI Third Team

1976 Hall of Fame Inductee

1951 was a momentous year for Mel Hutchins. He played on BYU’s NIT championship team and was also chosen to play in the NIT all-star game and voted its most valuable player. The Helms Athletic Foundation chose him for the All-American collegiate basketball team that same year.

In 1951 he became the NBA’s number-one draft choice, and in his first year of professional basketball he was chosen as rookie of the year. He played professional basketball for seven years in the NBA and was selected to the All-Star Team five times (played in four).

In his four years at BYU his team won the conference championship three times and won the 1951 NIT Championship and finished fourth place in the 1951 NCAA Tournament. While playing with the Fort Wayne Pistons of the NBA, his team won the Western Division title three times.

His talents are not limited to basketball. Mel also gained recognition in amateur golf in northern California and participated in water ski meets.

Career Highlights

  • Known for his defensive prowess, Hutchins long arms made him adept at blocking shots and rebounding
  • Named to several All-America teams after he led the Cougars to the 1951 NIT championship, including first-team honors by Look, Helms, and Sporting News and third-team honors by UPI
  • Set the BYU career record for rebounds (900) in just two seasons of recorded rebounding statistics; Kresimir Cosic broke the record in 1973 
  • Hutchins went on to star in the NBA, being named to five all-star teams during his seven years in the league ... named rookie of the year in 1952.

After BYU

  • Drafted with the second pick in the first round by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks
  • An avid golfer Hutchins gained recognition in amateur golf in northern California
  • After basketball Hutchins worked in real estate

Post BYU Honors and Societies

  • Selected as the No. 2 overall pick of the 1951 NBA Draft (when No. 1 pick Gene Melchiore was given a lifetime ban from playing in the NBA, Hutchins was recognized as being the No. 1 overall pick and was given the $7,000 bonus that was awarded to the top pick in the NBA Draft)
  • Played his NBA rookie season for the Milwaukee Hawks (now Atlanta)
  • Named the 1952 NBA Rookie of the Year
  • Led the NBA in rebounding (880) and was second in rebounding average (13.3) as a rookie (Hutchins and Wilt Chamberlain in 1960 are the only two players in NBA history to lead the league as a rookie)
  • Held the NBA single-season record for rebounds for a player under 6-6 until 1987 when Charles Barkley broke the record
  • Starter and Co-Captain of two Western Conference Championship teams (Fort Wayne, now the Detroit Pistons, 1955 and 1956). Fort Wayne lost in the Finals in 1955, and again in 1956
  • Played in four NBA All-Star games (1953, 1954, 1956, 1957), started in three (1953, 1954, 1956); also named an all-star in 1958 but was injured and did not play
  • Finished fourth in NBA MVP voting in 1956, behind Bob Pettit, Paul Arizin and Bob Cousy
  • Retired from the NBA following a severe knee injury in 1958
  • NBA career totals: 4,851 points, 4,186 rebounds and 1,298 assists
  • In 2010, ESPN’s Dave Ramsey called Mel one of the “greatest defenders in NBA history”
  • While playing for the Fort Wayne Pistons, his team won the Western Division title three times
  • Inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1976


Year    G    FGM   FTM   P-AVE
47-48   26   67    36    170-6.5
49-50   34   153   94    400-11.8
50-51   37   227   117   571-15.4
Totals  97   447   247   1141-11.8

1946-1947 | Redshirt Year

  • Redshirted

1947-1948 | Sophomore Year

  • Averaged 6.5 points per game as a sophomore on a team that won the Skyline Conference with a record of 8-2

1949-1950 | Junior Year

  • Averaged 11.8 points as a junior
  • Returned to the Cougars after taking a year off to play for the Twentieth Century Fox team
  • Named All-Skyline Conference
  • Named second team All-NCAA tournament
  • Earned first-team all-conference honors
  • Helped BYU win the Skyline Conference regular season with a record of 14-6

1950-1951 | Senior Year

  • Averaged 15.4 points and 12.7 rebounds his senior season as the Cougars won the NIT championship
  • Set the BYU single-season record for rebounds with 471, a record that still stands today
  • Named All America by Look Magazine (1st), UPI (3rd), Converse (1st), Helms (1st), and Sporting News (1st)
  • Named MVP of the 1951 East-West College All-Star Game
  • Earned All-NIT and second-team All-NCAA honors
  • Earned first-team all-conference honors
  • A co-captain for the Skyline Conference regular season champions