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BYU basketball: Cougars to retire jerseys of 2 former basketball players

Published: Monday, Jan. 14 2013 10:00 p.m. MST

Mel Hutchins, BYU basketball

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PROVO — BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe announced Monday night that two former Cougar basketball stars, Mel Hutchins and Roland Minson, will have their numbers retired Feb. 16 when BYU hosts Portland.

Hutchins and Minson led the Cougars to the 1951 NIT championship.

"We've been waiting awhile to announce this," Holmoe said during BYUtv's weekly sports program, "True Blue." "These are two guys that a lot of our current Cougar Nation fans won't really know about. But when you go back in the annals of Cougar basketball, these guys deserve to be up in the rafters."

Hutchins, who wore No. 14, and Minson, who wore No. 11, will be just the third and fourth BYU players to receive the distinguished honor, along with Kresimir Cosic, who also wore No. 11, and Danny Ainge, who wore No. 22.

Current and future players cannot wear retired numbers.

The criteria to retire a jersey at BYU includes: All-America honors, recipient of a major national award, university graduate, minimum 15-year waiting period and significant accomplishments after graduation.

Hutchins averaged 15.4 points and set a single-season school record for rebounds (471). Nicknamed "The Big Elf," Hutchins grabbed 900 rebounds as a junior and senior and is fourth all-time in career rebounding at BYU.

Hutchins was named the 1952 NBA Rookie of the Year and led the league in rebounding (880) and rebounding average (13.3) that same season. A five-time NBA All-Star selection (1953, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958), Hutchins led three NBA teams to Western Division titles. He concluded his NBA career with 4,851 points, 4,186 rebounds and 1,298 assists.

Minson, who was known as "The Cat" at BYU, set the Cougar single-season scoring record with 619 points, a record that stood for 27 years until it was broken by Ainge in 1978.

The New York Knicks picked Minson with the 16th pick of the first round of the 1952 NBA Draft. Instead of playing in the NBA, he served as an officer in the Navy during the Korean War.

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