Bulls

Smokies outfielder Guyer overcoming misfortune

Smokies outfielder Guyer overcoming misfortune

Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010
9:50 AM

By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

Bad fortune certainly seems to be following Brandon Guyer to some degree this season. Yet, the Tennessee outfielder, who sports a gritty, run through a wall-type of attitude, is determined to keep pressing forward despite the fact that at times fate seems to be conspiring against him.

Guyer returned to Smokies lineup Monday night after missing three games with a case of conjunctivitis pink eye. The inflammation in his eyes left him unable to put in his contact lenses, rendering him unable to play. While the three games he missed waiting for the problem to subside wouldnt normally be an issue a little break in August never hurt anyone Guyer was in the midst of his hottest streak of the season.

The former fifth-round 2007 pick from Virginia was riding a 16-game hitting streak at the time his eyes went wacky. He returned to the lineup against Chattanooga, though, and collected three hits to extend his streak to 17 games, two shy of the longest streak in the Southern League this season. Hes hitting .477 during the 17 games with four homers and 22 RBIs.

I would have been able to play if I could have put my contacts in, said Guyer, 24, who has pushed his season average to .331, second best in the Southern League. That was one of the more frustrating things about it. I felt like I didnt lose too much of my timing, though and I was glad I could get back out there.

It wasnt the first time Guyer missed action this season. He missed two weeks in late April and early May after injuring his shoulder, a recurrence of an injury he suffered at the University of Virginia in the weeks leading up to the draft. Guyer slid head first into second base against Birmingham and jammed the shoulder on April 28.

Guyer was hitting .283 at the time but when he got back into the lineup on May 10, he played in only two games before missing two more weeks. When he returned in early June his average slumped and he spent a month working toward getting his stroke back. He finally began to come around in July and believes the current streak on which he finds himself is more of an indication of who he is as a player than the one who struggled for much of June.

I felt better when I came back but it took time to get comfortable again, he said. Im just getting up to the plate now and keeping it simple. KISS. Keep it simple stupid. If I have a bad at-bat I just say KISS, KISS over and over. I dont go up there and try to do too much. I just want to keep it simple and hit line drives.

Tennessee won the first-half title in the Southern Leagues North Division and appears headed to repeat in the second half. It holds a three-game lead over West Tenn heading into Wednesdays action at Mississippi and Guyers play of late has been a big reason why. Hes anxious to finish what he and the Smokies have started.

First off, were in a playoff hunt and Id like to finish this off and get a ring, he said. Id also like to keep on the roll that Im on and end the season the best possible way I can. Other than that, I cant think about anything else. I feel that if I go out and do what I can do, that other stuff promotions will happen naturally.

Should Guyer continue to play the way he has been, a trip to Iowa may be in the offing. The I-Cubs are in the midst of a playoff chase as well and would likely welcome the help. Guyer has been demonstrating an ability to hit all pitches to all fields, an ability he says he didnt possess when he came out of college. Hes spraying the ball more, though, using the whole field now and the results speak for themselves.

I feel like have more to work on but this year I have made huge strides, he said. Maybe I need to be more patient at the plate in certain situations, maybe hit for some more power. Stealing bases, Id like to get better at that.

Deep down, though, I always knew I could produce at this level. Its all been about hard work and confidence.

Oh, and overcoming a bit of misfortune.
Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Bulls draft night

2018-nba-draft.jpg
USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Bulls draft night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, Will Perdue, and Vincent Goodwill react to the Bulls taking Wendell Carter and Chandler Hutchison on draft night. They’ll discuss if the Carter- Carlos Boozer comparison is fair, and how the drafting of Hutchison will impact what the team does in free agency. Kendall and Will share what they expect from Carter offensively and how he’ll mesh with Lauri Markkanen. They’ll also explain Markkanen’s offseason transformation and why adding too much muscle could be a bad thing.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below 

Admitted promise or not, the Bulls knew they wanted Chandler Hutchison – and they got him

Admitted promise or not, the Bulls knew they wanted Chandler Hutchison – and they got him

Neither John Paxson nor Chandler Hutchison himself would admit to what many called the worst kept secret in the pre-draft process. So whether you believe the Boise State senior had a promise from the Bulls that they would select him with the 22nd pick if still available, what Paxson and Gar Forman made clear was that they wanted Hutchison. And they got him.

“There are storylines and rumors all the time in this business and to keep trying to respond to them is often difficult. We liked Chandler a lot,” John Paxson said at the Advocate Center. We scouted him early, we scouted him often and we had our eye on him. He knew we liked him. Most players know when you like them, if you show up a lot and you’re around.”

There was plenty to like. Hutchison blossomed as an upperclassman at Boise State - after a unique basketball upbringing - averaging 18.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in his final two seasons with the Broncos. His 6-foot-7 NBA-ready frame kept him closer to the basket, leading to the efficient scoring and a blistering 72 percent at the rim, but keeping him a work in project on the perimeter.

He projects as a plus-defender who can defend on the wing and on the block in small-ball lineups and, as a four-year college player, should find minutes in a wing-depleted rotation. Put another way: he’s versatile at a position the Bulls have needed since the day Jimmy Butler walked out the door. Any shooting will be an added bonus.

But was there a promise, Chandler?

“I didn’t have any guarantee on where I was going," he said. "It could have been anywhere. Honestly, my heart was racing from 15 on. It was an exciting moment, though.”

The Bulls drafting Hutchison kept the theme of the night in Chicago trending after they took Wendell Carter 7th overall: complementary pieces to help an improving roster. Where Hutchison excels – physicality, scoring at the rim, defending multiple positions – the players he’ll share the floor with don’t. It’s easier to hide Denzel Valentine, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen defensively with a physical perimeter threat.

Paxson and Forman mentioned Hutchison's “slashing” multiple times, and that physical, quick style will help a Bulls offense that ranked 28th in the NBA on shots 5 feet and in. That inefficiency was one of the major reasons the team finished 28th efficiency and often struggled to find secondary scoring.

That versatility spans more than just defending, too. Hutchison was asked to become a do-it-all for a Broncos team whose second leading scorer averaged 11.8 points, second leading rebounder averaged 6.6 boards and second leading passer averaged 2.6 assists. Hutchinson did it all for the 23-win Broncos. His usage rate was 33.0, 10th highest in the country and a slight tick above Alabama point guard Collin Sexton (32.5%). His passing, shot creating and eventual shooting make him a Swiss army knife on the wing.

“We think he can put it on the floor and create. He got to the lane a lot as a ball handler. His shot is getting better and better, we think he’ll be able to shoot it from NBA range at some point but that’s an area he’ll have to continue to work on,” Paxson said. “The more guys you have that can handle and create and pass, with the way our game is and the way our floor is spaced, we think he can do those things.”

Promises aside – Hutchison is represented by Chicago-based Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, who has plenty of ties to the Bulls – Hutchison checked all the boxes the Bulls were looking for, especially after they passed on wings like Mikal Bridges and Kevin Knox with the 7th pick.

“He addresses a position of need,” Paxson said. “We had debates all through this draft on wings and the type of player we wanted at that position. He fits.”