Mel Hutchins
Center 14
190 lbs.
Roster Years

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
1976 BYU Hall of Fame

1976 BYU Hall of Fame

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.

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.

Mel also gained recognition in amateur golf in northern California and participated in water ski meets.

Freshman Year

Sophmore Year 1947-1948

  • Averaged 6.5 points per game as a sophomore on a team that won the Skyline Conference with a record of 8-2
Junior Year 1949-1950

  • 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

Summary from the 1949-50 Media Guide

A member of Brigham Young's conference champion squad of two years ago, "Hutch" returns to the Provo campus this year to resume his education. Big Mel can't be overlooked as one of the nation's really-great hoopsters. He amazed local fans with his court antics when he came to Salt Lake City to play for the 20th century Fox squad and outscored, outfought, and outplayed the country s best. Mel is a great rebound man and a good shot from under the basket or far out. He will add to the Cougars what they lacked last year-height. His uncanny ability at back­ward shots and otherwise unorthodox handling of the ball make this 6'5" junior a hit with the fans and the envy of opponents. He may look lazy, but watch him unwind when he wants to get some­place in a hurry! 

Senior Year 1950-1951

  • 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

Summary from the 1950-51 Media Guide

"The Big Elf," as he is affectionately known, won all-conference center honors an every Skyline poll and was elected to the second team of the Western all-NCAA playoffs. Big Mel lettered with the conference champions three years ego as a sophomore, then he dropped out to play an amateur season with the 20th Century Fox quint. The experience did him good and he returned last year to bolster another championship BYU team. Sometimes he appears to loaf on the court·, but he can pour on the steam when the occasion calls. The change of pace is deceiving to the op­position. He has outfought and outscored the country's best and never fails to amaze the fans with his court antics and unorthodox ball handling. His, height and long arms serve to make him one of the best rebound men in the country. He has been listed and pictured by several national magazines this fall as all-American. This should be his great year. 

Graduate Year

Redshirt Year

  • Redshirted
Medical Redshirt Year