Brian Butch: "Student" Athlete

Brian Butch, a 6-11 center from Appleton (West), Wis., is first and foremost a student-athlete and student is the proper first word in that phrase. Butch, along with his mother and father, came to Tucson for his official visit to the University of Arizona campus seeking answers to some questions.

Unlike most athletes who have questions about playing time and other players who are being recuited to fill the same spot, Butch's questions were not directed at the Wildcat coaching staff but at the academic advisers.

"We asked the student advisers about the support available for the athletes and looked at the facilities and the study situation," Butch said. "I wanted to know what there was for the student athletes and what kind of help is there. And I came away very impressed."

Butch didn't just listen to the academic advisors, he asked if he could sit in on a class.
"I asked Mr. Josh Pastner if I could attend a class," Butch said. "Murph, one of the team managers, took me with him to his Senior English class. It was really neat. The class was bigger than my high school classes and the professor stood up and lectured. It was just what I thought it would be."

Butch, who is also considering Wisconsin, Marquette, Kansas and Iowa, said two factors will determine where he'll play his college ball: the academic support he'll receive and team chemistry.

"Chemistry is important," Butch said. "A lot of teams have good players, but you can't win if you don't have great chemisty."

Butch is not only a bright young man, but very polite. In fact, Butch referred to most of the Wildcat players as he would other elders, he used the word "Mister" in front of the player's names.

"I got to meet everybody on the team," Butch said. "Mr. Luke Walton and Mr. (Jason) Gardner were really nice. And Mr.Channing Frye was my host. Since Channing just went through this same process, he talked to me about some of the same things I was thinking about."

Butch said they talked about the distance from home.

"Chainning is from Phoenix," Butch said. "It's close to home. But he said 'I never have time to go home,' so it doesn't matter how close your home is."

Butch, who has lived his entire life in Appleton, Wis., has played during the summers in Las Vegas so he was familiar with the desert environment.

"I didn't see that much grass until I went to the (campus) mall," Butch said. "But it's
not like Las Vegas. Tucson is a pretty town and Las Vegas is just desert and dusty."

Butch said he and his parents "liked everything about the trip," but said the final decision would his.

"My parents trust me 100 percent," he said. "They'll support me whereever I go."

Butch will play in tournaments in Ft. Wayne, Ind., Chicago and North Carolina during the next few weeks. In July, he'll go to the Adididas ABCD Camp and Las Vegas Big Time Tournament.

Doug Carr can be reached via e-mail at

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