Brian Butch may take his time

After visiting Arizona, the first of his five official visits, Brian Butch remains wide open in the recruiting process at this time. I had a chance to speak with the Appleton, Wisconsin super prospect Sunday night and he let it be known that decisions about where to play college basketball aren't likely to be made anytime soon.

To Arizona fans it has become common knowledge that the Wildcats are targeting both Butch and Reno big man David Padgett as part of their 2003 recruiting class. Butch talked a little bit about the competition with Padgett that is sure to continue throughout the summer and into the fall.

"I'd like to talk to (Padgett) at some point this summer," Butch said. "I've never met him but I think it would be good to sit down with him and figure out what he's thinking about, see where he might be going and stuff like that. A lot of schools have both of us on their list, usually just David though, and I think some want to bring us both in."

The probability of one school landing both of the high school All-American big men is low but in light of recent events it may be Butch whose stock is nearing its apex right now. When comparing Padgett and Butch, the consensus is that Padgett is further along at this point with a more mature body and more physical style of play. However, it appears that Butch's upside might be considerably higher thanks to a well-rounded inside outside game for a guy seven feet tall.

"The last time I was measured I was a little over seven foot," Butch said. "But I'd like to still be listed at 6-11. I'm not really gaining that much weight yet but I'm working out four days a week and I eat about six meals a day. I'm at 215 right now but I'm working on getting bigger for the summer."

Butch says that his game is similar to that of two-time NBA MVP Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs because he can play inside and face up at the same time. His outside shot has been drawing rave reviews in his recent tournament performances, including a remarkable 38-point game on 10-11 shooting from the field against seven-foot class of 2004 prospect Robert Swift.

"Most of the time during the high school season I'm going against guys that are 6-4 or 6-5," Butch said. "But I really look forward to the summer when I get to play against the best. I'm not really the biggest guy so some of those smaller guys can get leverage on me and push me around a little bit whereas the taller guys can't as much."

With his skyrocketing stock and his rapid improvement as a player, Butch is now widely considered to be one of the top ten prospects in the soon-to-be senior class. He has taken just the one official visit to Arizona over a month ago and has taken four unofficials to North Carolina, Iowa, Marquette and Wisconsin. He says he plans to take his remaining official trips to Carolina, Wisconsin and Kansas before deciding sometime in the fall.

"I wish (the recruiting process) was over," Butch said. "I'd like to just be a normal kid but I understand that this comes with the territory. It's going to get my college paid for. The coaches that I've talked to are great. They just treat me like a normal person and I want to be treated normally so I appreciate that out of them. When I talked with coach Olson it was very obvious that he's been through all of this stuff before. He has more experience than any of the others and it showed."

Arizona likely has Butch as its top big man target from the class of 2003 along with Padgett and combo-forward Ndudi Ebi (6-10, 190, Houston) and Butch likewise has the Wildcats among his top three. It should come down to a three-team race for Butch's services between Arizona, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

"Everyone always has advice for me or tries to get me to go to a certain school when I talk to them," Butch said. "Even when I just go to a the ballpark to watch a baseball game there are people that come up and talk to me about it. I listen to what everyone says but when it comes down to it, it's going to be about doing what's best for me. Getting along with the players and the academics of a school are the two most important factors. But I've got time to decide, it's just about gathering as much information possible about these schools and then making the decision after I have it all."

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