CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It often takes a player time to adjust to a new system and a new role.
For West Virginia State guard Anton Hutchins, that adjustment has turned him into one of the leading scorers in the Mountain East Conference this season.
The 6-foot-4 senior has been a nightmare for opposing defenses, averaging 18.6 points through 12 games, good for fifth in the MEC.
"He's a hard matchup and takes what the defense gives him," said State coach Bryan Poore. "He can post-up smaller defenders and put it on the floor against bigger guys. He's a great 15-foot jump shooter and is very offensively skilled."
The Ohio native came to Institute by way of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, where he averaged 14 points. During the 2012-13 season, his first with the Yellow Jackets, Hutchins showed flashes of brilliance. He averaged 15 points, including a 33-point outing in a victory over Glenville State, but was still learning his place.
"When you bring kids in from different schools and different parts of the country, it can take them longer to get comfortable with a system and a coach," said Poore. "Anton is buying in to what we are asking him to do."
Hutchins has scored 20-plus points six times this season, including a 28-point, eight-rebound performance against Bluefield State in the season-opener, and is shooting a team-high 56.5 percent from the field.
"I think I'm more coachable this year, everyone is," said Hutchins. "I've been getting in the gym, just trying to work hard."
The Yellow Jackets (6-6 overall, 3-6 Mountain East Conference), who were without fellow senior Bo King for the first half of the season, struggled early but have won three of their last four games.
"We just picked up a couple wins and hopefully we can get a couple more," said Hutchins. "We're starting to run more and getting tougher on the defensive end."
With King out, much of the scoring responsibilities fell on Hutchins, a challenge his coach said he readily accepted.
"He's one of the most competitive players I've coached," said Poore. "He took it hard at first, but he came in and worked hard. We've been able to put him positions to score and he's been very productive so far."