Hutcherson breaks out in Illini preseason debut


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — At Illinois Basketball’s exhibition game against St. Francis on Saturday night, fans had a chance to see Austin Hutcherson play for the first time — and he lived up to the hype.

The Division-III transfer from Wesleyan sat out the entire 2020-2021 season due to an injury, and was on the sidelines the season prior due to NCAA transfer rules. In his Orange and Blue debut, the 6-foot-6 wing tied a game-high 14 points, along with seven rebounds to lead the team. He shot 5-7 from the field, and was 2-3 behind the arc.

“We’ve all seen him practice, and he’s had great moments, and then had to persevere, and had to go through what was a really tough and frustrating year last season,” says head coach Brad Underwood. “I use the term kick the rust off, and he did that pretty well tonight. I think we saw his explosiveness and his athleticism. Great first step, and hopefully he’s got some confidence.”

At Wesleyan, he averaged 20.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists his sophomore season, and was the 2018 NESCAC Rookie of the Year.

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