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.