A 6'6" power forward/center, Hutchins attended Brigham Young University in 1946-47 and 1947-48 as a Freshman and Sophomore, and after a one year absence where he worked in Southern California, in 1949-50 and 1950-51. As a Senior, he led BYU to the 1951 NIT National Championship. At the conclusion of the 1951 season, Hutchins played in the annual East-West College All-Star game, where he was named MVP after leading the West to victory.
Hutchins helped lead the Pistons to back to back NBA Finals in 1955 and 1956, although the Pistons fell short of a championship in both series', in 7 and 5 games, respectively. Along with being one of the top rebounders in the NBA, Hutchins was renowned for his defense. During his Hall of Fame induction speech in August 2011, Satch Sanders said that Hutchins was one of the great defenders who inspired him to play defense at a high level: "He (Hutchins) was so smooth defensively, always in the right place," Sanders told CSNNE.com moments after delivering his acceptance speech. "I thought to myself, 'I sure hope one day I can play like that.'"After sustaining a serious knee injury midway through the 1958 season, Hutchins retired after only 7 NBA seasons, with 4,851 career points and 4,186 career rebounds.