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First Co-Rookies of the Year: Mel Hutchins and Bill Tosheff


Mel Hutchins

Crediti: BYU Basketball


Since 1952, there have been three Co-Rookies of the Year:

  • 1970-71: Dave Cowens and Geoff Petrie

  • 1994-95: Grant Hill and Jason Kidd

  • 1999-00: Elton Brand and Steve Francis

However, before 1952, there was another Co-Rookie of the Year, but it is "unofficially recognized" by the NBA. In the 1951-52 NBA season, Mel Hutchins and Bill Tosheff became the first Co-Rookies of the Year.


Since they are "unofficially recognized" by the NBA, I thought it would be nice to officially recognize Mel Hutchins and Bill Tosheff by highlighting their rookie seasons and NBA careers.


After all, if you were awarded the Rookie of the Year, you're bound to have an amazing NBA career... right? (cough* cough* Michael-Carter Williams)

 

Table of Contents:


Mel Hutchins:

Bill Tosheff:

 

Mel Hutchins: College Career (Brigham Young University)

Mel Hutchins started his College Career with Brigham Young University (BYU) in the 1947-48 NCAA Season as a 6'6" Power Forward/Center. Nowadays, the average Small Forward is 6'6," but back then, players were tiny.


For some reason, College Basketball Sports Reference doesn't have any stats for Hutchins freshman season besides free-throw percentage. So all we know is that Hutchins shot 45.5% from the free-throw line. How interesting.


Hutchins wouldn't participate in the 1948-49 NCAA season because he was in Southern California for "religious service."


After one year in Southern California, Hutchins returned to BYU and played for them from 1949-1951. In the 1949-50 NCAA season, Hutchins averaged:


12 Points

40.7 FG% and 63.9 FT%

3.0 Personal Fouls


BYU would end the regular season with a 14-6 Win/Loss Record (70%) in the Mountain States Athletic Conference, making them the first seed in the conference! However, their overall record was 22-12, making them the second behind Wyoming University when it came to the overall standings.


Due to their performance in the regular season, BYU was given a spot in the NCAA Tournament. However, there weren't as many college teams back then, so BYU was immeadietly in the Quarterfinals (i.e., Elite Eight).


Unfortunatley, BYU would lose to Baylor by one point (55-56) in the first round. Thankfully, in the West Regional Third Place match (i.e., the match for third place in one's respective division), BYU beat UCLA by a whopping 21 POINTS (83-62)!


Mel Hutchins played amazingly in both games. In the game against Baylor, Hutchins had 19 points while shooting 36.4% from the field and 60.0% from the free-throw line.


His performance against UCLA was even better! Hutchins had 21 points while shooting 50.0% from the field and 50.0% from the free-throw line!



The 1950-51 NCAA season would be amazing for both Mel Hutchins and BYU. During the 1950-51 NCAA season, Hutchins averaged:


15.4 Points and 2.2 Assists

39.5 FG% and 65.0 FG%

2.6 Personal Fouls


Besides field-goal percentage, Hutchins improved in every statistical category! Even though his field-goal percentage was 1.2% lower, Hutchins was shooting 4.4 more field goals a game! It's actually surprising how he was able to somewhat maintain his shooting efficiency while shooting more!


Once again, BYU was the first seed in the conference. They ended the regular season with a 15-5 Win/Loss Record (75.0%). However, unlike last season, BYU would rank first in overall standings with a record of 28-9 (75.7%).


BYU's post-season was just as fulfilling as, during the National Invitation Tournament (which has been overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament/March Madness), BYU would end up winning the Championship!


I tried finding Hutchins' stats during the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), but there is absolutely no information about his stats during the NIT. This is probably because it was literally 70 YEARS AGO, and as stated previously, the NIT has been overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament.


Instead, I'll just put the game scores for each game BYU played in the NIT:

  • Quarterfinals: BYU vs. St. Lous (75-68)

  • Semifinals: BYU vs. Seton Hall (69-59)

  • Finals: BYU vs. Dayton (62-43)

As for the NCAA Tournament, they did better but also worse at the same time.


In the first round against San Jose State, BYU beat them 68-61. So BYU already did better than last time. This was probably Hutchins' best post-season game as he had 22 points and 12 rebounds. He shot 43.5% from the field and 50.0% from the free-throw line.


After San Jose State, BYU lost to Kansas State 54-64. Hutchins played this game horribly. He had 10 points and 7 rebounds. He shot 38.5% from the field and 0% from the free-throw line.


Now, this is why BYU did better but also worst. Although BYU advanced to the second round, unlike last season, during the West Regional Third Place match, unlike last season when BYU won, BYU lost to Washington 67-80. Hutchins also played bad this game. He had 9 points and 7 rebounds. He shot 37.5% from the field and 60.0% from the free-throw line.


Awards:

  • NIT Champion

  • All-American Second Team

  • No. 14 Retired

  • Most Rebounds in a Season (471)

  • East-West College All-Star MVP

Mel Hutchins: NBA Career - Milwaukee Hawks

With the second pick in the 1951 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Hawks chose Mel Hutchins. However, because the first pick in the draft, Gene Melchiorre, was caught for illegal gambling, he was banned from the NBA, making Hutchins the first pick in the 1951 NBA Draft.


Obviously, Hutchins had a good rookie season (hence the title). With the Hawks, Hutchins averaged:


9.2 Points, 13.3 Rebounds, and 2.9 Assists

36.5 FG%, 64.4 FT%

39.7 Minutes


As a rookie, Hutchins was leading the ENTIRE LEAGUE in rebounds. He had 880 rebounds this season, the most he would have in a season throughout his career. The only other rookie to lead in rebounds was Wilt Chamberlain! He also played the most games this season (66) and was 11th in Defensive Win Shares (3.0).


Mel Hutchins' best performance this season was on March 2nd, 1952, against the Minneapolis Lakers. Hutchins had:


20 Points, 31 REBOUNDS

8 Field Goals, 4/10 Free Throws

2 Personal Fouls


However, since the Milwaukee Hawks were dogshit (17-49), Hutchins would not be making a playoff appearance. The Hawks were:

  • The worst team in the Western Division

  • Lowest Points per Game (73.2)

  • Second Lowest Pace (90.7)

  • Worst Offensive Rating (80.4)

  • Thrid Lowest Defensive Rating (89.1)

To save time, the Hawks wouldn't make the playoffs the following season either because they sucked.


BYU Cougars Mel Hutchins

Credit: BYU Cougars


As said previously, the Hawks were bad, so I'll just cover how well Mel Hutchins did.


In this season, Hutchins averaged:


12 Points, 11.2 Rebounds, and 3.2 Assists

37.9 FG%, 65.4 FT%

40.7 Minutes


Once again, Hutchins led the league in most games played (72). In addition, he had the second-highest Defensive Win Shares (5.5) and tenth-highest field-goal percentage (40.1%). Finally, he was also named as an All-Star! His All-Star game performance was pretty terrible. He had:


2 Points, 6 Rebounds, and 5 Assists

1/8 FG, 0/1 FT

30 Minutes


Really... really terrible.

Fort Wayne Pistons

After two years with the Hawks, Mel Hutchins would sign with the Fort Wayne Pistons. For all four seasons that Hutchins was on the Pistons, they made it to the playoffs. During his first season with the Pistons, Hutchins didn't play as well as he usually did. He averaged:


10.3 Points, 9.7 Rebounds, and 2.9 Assists

40.1 FG%, 67.7 FT%

40.8 Minutes


Although this was probably his second-worst stat line, Hutchins still made the All-Star game. Like last season, Hutchins played pretty badly in the All-Star game. He put up:


3 Points, 4 Rebounds, and 2 Assists

1/8 FG, 1/2 FT

31 Minutes


The Pistons had an All-Star Starting Five.

  • Larry Foust: 8x All-Star

  • Jack Molinas: 1x All-Star

  • Max Zaslofsky: 1x All-Star

  • Andy Phillip: 5x All-Star

  • And of course, Mel Hutchins: 4x All-Star

Even with this amazing Starting Five, the Pistons only went 40-32. It's still a winning record, but they could have definitely done better. The Pistons ended up with the third-best offensive rating (89.0) and the fourth-best defensive rating (87.2).



The Pistons participated in the "Western Round Robin." I don't know what it means, and I don't even know who they went up against, but apparently, it's a part of the playoffs. Although Hutchins wasn't the best player on the team in the regular season, he was in the playoffs.


He averaged:


10.5 Points, 9.3 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists

32.6 FG%, 70 FT%

40.5 Minutes


Hutchins led the team in points and rebounds!



I'm combining the 1954-55 and 1955-56 NBA seasons because Mel Hutchins and the Pistons basically had the same stat line, record, and playoff record in both seasons.


In the 1954-55 NBA season, Hutchins averaged:


12.0 Points, 9.2 Rebounds, and 3.4 Assists

37.8 FG%, 70.8 FT%

39.7 Minutes


Even though he did better than last season, Hutchins was not named an All-Star this season.


The Pistons would end up going 37-35. This was worse than last year, but they were somehow the first seed in the Western Conference. It's probably because there were only EIGHT teams in the NBA this season. Also, the Western Conference was pretty shit. The second-seed in the Eastern Conference, Boston Celtics, had a better record than the Pistons.


The Pistons were pretty successful in the playoffs. First, they beat the St. Louis Hawks, 3-2. In the series, Hutchins scored 10 points and shot 57.1% from the free-throw line.


After beating the St. Louis Hawks, the Pistons would advance to the Finals. Yup... NBA teams only had to beat two teams to win a Championship. In the Finals against the Philadelphia Warriors, the Pistons would lose 1-4. Hutchins didn't do too well, averaging:


8.6 Points, 9.6 Rebounds, and 2.6 Assists

29.4 FG%, 65.0 FG%


The 1955-56 NBA season was basically the same for Mel Hutchins, so I won't repeat Hutchins' stat line. However, if you are interested in what he averaged this season, click here!


Once again, Hutchins was chosen to be an All-Star. This time, he actually did decently. It was probably his best All-Star performance. He had:


11 Points, 4 Rebounds

5/11 FG, 1/2 FT

27 Minutes


The Pistons ended with the first seed in the Western Conference again, but with a better record (43-29). They also had the best record in the league! In addition, the Pistons had the second-best offensive rating (91.2) and third-best defensive rating (88.9).


In the first round of the playoffs, the Pistons beat the Minneapolis Lakers, 3-1. Again, Hutchins played amazingly, scoring 15.5 points per game and shooting 53.8% from the free-throw line.


After winning the first round, the Pistons would advance to the Finals. They would give it their all, but unfortunately, lost to the Syracuse Nationals by just one game, 3-4. In the series, Hutchins averaged:


13.7 Points, 8.3 Rebounds, and 3.7 Assists

42.0 FG%, 77.4 FT%


Hutchins' best performance was in Game 3. He scored 23 points and shot 87.5% from the free-throw line.


Mel Hutchins' was fourth in MVP Voting! He was behind Bob Pettit, Paul Arizin, and Bob Cousy.


The 1956-57 NBA season would be Mel Hutchins' last season with the Pistons and his last All-Star appearance.


Hutchins averaged:


12.4 Points, 7.9 Rebounds, and 2.9 Assists

38.7 FG%, 73.8 FT%

36.8 Minutes


In my opinion, this was Hutchins' best season. His All-Star stat line was the same as last year's. He just shot less efficiently.


After five years, Mel Hutchins finally led the league in a stat... games played. He played 72 games, so yeah.


The Pistons ended up with a 34-38 Win/Loss record. They ended up as the third seed in the Western Conference. To be fair, you could consider the Pistons the first seed since the St. Louis Hawks, and the Minneapolis Lakers also had a 34-38 record.


During the playoffs, the Pistons lost the Tiebreaker and Semifinals. The Tiebreaker match decides who automatically gets into the Conference Finals (which is stupid, but whatever). In the Tiebreaker match, Hutchins averaged:


13 Points and 10 Rebounds

28.6 FG%, 71.4 FT%

39 Minutes


As for the Semifinals, Mel Hutchins underperformed. If you want to know his stats, click here!


New York Knicks

Unfortunatley, Mel Hutchins' career would come to an abrupt end with the New York Knicks. 17 games into the season, Hutchins suffered a severe knee injury which forced him to retire.


Within those 17 games, Hutchins averaged:


7.0 Points, 4.8 Rebounds, 1.9 Assists

38.9 FG%, 55.8 FT%

21 MInutes


Mel Hutchins has unfortunately not been inducted into the Hall of Fame. According to Basketball-Reference, he has a 3.0% of making the Hall of Fame.


Bill Tosheff: College Career (Indiana University)

Now... onto the other Rookie of the Year, Bill Tosheff. Tosheff played Point Guard for Indiana University between 1948-51. Unlike Mel Hutchins, we actually have Tohseff's stats. During his three-season stint with Indiana, Tosheff averaged:


8.4 Points, 3.0 Rebounds, and 0.8 Assists

33.9 FG%, 80.6 FT%

3.0 Personal Fouls


In addition, unlike Mel Hutchins and BYU, Bill Tosheff and Indiana never made it into the NCAA Tournament because they were never the first-seed in their conference (Big Ten).


Indiana University's best record while Bill Tosheff was there was in the 1950-51 NCAA season. Indiana University was the second seed with a 12-2 Win/Loss record within the conference. Overall, Indiana University was still the second seed with a 19-3 Win/Loss record.


They actually had a better Win/Loss percentage (86.4%) than the first seed (Illinois, 81.5%), but since Illinois had more wins (22), they were entered into the NCAA Tournament.


Indianapolis Olympians

Bill Tosheff

Whereas Mel Hutchins was drafted first overall, Bill Tosheff was drafted in the fourth round as the 32nd pick by the Indianapolis Olympians. Although Hutchins was drafted earlier than Tosheff, at least Tosheff was on a decent team (that also had a cool name)!


In his rookie season with the Olympians, Tosheff averaged:


9.4 Points, 3.3 Rebounds, 3.4 Assists

32.7 FG%, 82.4 FT%

32 Minutes


To be honest, this stat line is nowhere near as good as Mel Hutchins', yet Bill Tosheff still won Rookie of the Year alongside Hutchins. This is probably because almost 70% of the Draft didn't play a single season in the NBA, not even their rookie season.


Funnily enough, Tosheff's best game in his rookie season was probably his first game. On November 3rd, 1951, against the Baltimore Bullets, Tosheff scored 23 points (a career-high) and shot 100% (11/11) from the free-throw line.


Since Tosheff was actually on a good team, he participated in the playoffs in his rookie season. The Olympians ended third in the Western Conference with a 34-32 Win/Loss record.


Although they made the playoffs, the Olympians got stomped by the Minneapolis Lakers, and Bill Tosheff played like trash. In the series, Tosheff only averaged 3.5 points and shot 11.8% from the field...


The 1952-53 season was Bill Tosheff's best season. He averaged:


11 Points, 3.4 Rebounds, and 3.6 Assists

32.3 FG%, 80.6 FT%

36.7 Minutes


Even with this stat line, Tosheff wouldn't make an All-Star appearance. Like the previous season, he scored a season-high 23 points. However, the game where he scored 23 points was not his best performance. His best performance was on November 22nd, 1952, against the Boston Celtics. He had:


19 Points and 10 Assists

41 FG%, 100 FT%

3 Personal Fouls


Even with a 28-43 Win/Loss record, the Olympians would make it into the playoffs as the fourth-seed in the Western Conference. Obviously, even if you make the playoffs, it's basically pointless if you're a bad/decent team.


Once again, the Olympians got stomped by the Minneapolis Lakers. I honestly have no idea whether Bill Tosheff played better, worse or the same. He averaged 4.5 points and shot 100% from the free-throw line. It's a one-point increase from last season, and he shot really well from the free-throw line, but he only shot one field goal...


Milwaukee Hawks

Like Mel Hutchins, Bill Tosheff left the team that drafted him after two years and signed with another team. Unlike Hutchins, he signed with the worst team in the league, the Milwaukee Hawks (who I've constantly been shitting on so far).


What sucks is that we could have had the Co-Rookies of the Year on the same team, but Mel Hutchins left the Hawks just when Bill Tosheff joined.


This was definitely Tosheff's worst season. He averaged:


6.9 Points, 2.3 Rebounds, and 2.8 Assists

29.1 FG%, 74.3 FT%

25.7 Minutes


Tosheff did worse in EVERY SINGLE STATISTICAL CATEGORY! Once again, Tosheff's season-high was 23 points. It was also probably his best game as he shot 90% from the free-throw line and made seven field goals.


As said numerous times, the Hawks sucked. When you suck, you don't make the playoffs. The Hawks did not make the playoffs.


After this season, Bill Tosheff retired from the NBA. Yup, just three seasons in the NBA, and he retired (this was actually considered a long NBA career back then).


Bill Tosheff would reappear in the NBA in 1988 when he founded the Pre-1965 NBA Player Association. The association helped secure fair pension plans for players that played before 1965. Good on you, Tosheff!




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