Maturing Prospect Drawing Attention
Last year at Appleton (WI) West, center Brian Butch averaged 11 points and five rebounds during his sophomore season. Good, not great stats by any means. But, as a sophomore, Butch tipped the scales at a less-than-robust 185 pounds.
That was then, this is now.
Butch checks in at the start of junior season at 6-11 and 215 pounds. That's quite a physical improvement from the previous year. "We had a couple of senior guards on our team and the big strong kids in our conference and they just pushed him around," West coach Greg Hartjes said. "He's put on 30 pounds and grown an inch since then."
And since last year, he's blossomed as a prospect. During the open period tons of coaches dropped by for a visit. Wisconsin, Marquette, Kentucky, Purdue, St. Louis, Missouri, Iowa and Penn State came. Head coaches Bo Ryan and Tom Crean made personal appearances.
Kansas, Utah, Michigan, Michigan State, Arizona, Illinois and Tennessee want to come see him during the season.
So, how did Butch start gaining all the attention? "I think he had a real nice tournament at the Spiece and some coaches mentioned that he played well at the Nike Camp [for underclassmen] in St. Louis," Hartjes said. "Then, some services like The Sporting News ranked him high."
Hartjes is right, Butch was good at Spiece. While playing with the Fox Valley Skillz, Butch made an impression. He challenged shots, displayed a nice touch with range and was really good around the basket. Toss in a big-time GPA and you have a cinch high-major kid.
"He grew four inches between 8th and 9th grade and then two inches and another inch last year," Hartjes said. "He can move better and jump better and he's just more active. It's just a matter of him getting physically more mature. A lot of people see him as a situation when he's 21 or 22 that he's going to be an awesome player."