This team has come together.
Despite the turmoil that occurred during the offseason the Butler Bulldogs have come together as one.
Butler lost 3/4 of their freshman class from a season ago (Nolan Berry, Rene Castro, Elijah Brown) to transfer, a couple other transfers, and their head coach Brandon Miller went on medical leave. Put those departures together with a team that finished just 14-17 and Butler was headed for the depths of the Big East standings.
Not so fast.
The team has rallied together around one another and their new head coach Chris Holtmann. The Bulldogs are 5-1 and ranked (#23) for the first time since February 25, 2013.
Coach Holtmann has shown he belongs on the Butler sideline.
When Brandon Miller decided to go on medical leave just before the start of the season, Butler was in need of a head coach and athletic director Barry Collier decided that assistant coach Chris Holtmann was the man for the job.
What a great choice by Collier.
Butler is off to a 5-1 start to the season, including wins over #5 North Carolina and Big East member Georgetown.
Before heading to Butler as an assistant coach, a coup for coach Miller and Butler before the start of last season, Chris Holtmann did a wonderful job a Gardner-Webb in his three season as head coach. Gardner-Webb improved from 11-21 in Holtmann's first season to 21-13 in his final season in 2012-13, where they earned their first birth into the post season as a participant in the CIT.
Holtmann has shown that he can do everything a head coach must do extremely well.
In his short stint at Butler, Holtmann has shown that he can recruit, coach, and build relationships at the highest level. The players, their parents, potential recruits, and alumni all rave about him not only as a coach, but also as a person.
He has looked confident on the sidelines for the Bulldogs. He has made decisive decisions and has acclimated himself well to the Butler Way.
While Butler and Collier have stated that Brandon Miller will be accepted back with open arms, coach Holtmann has given them something to think about if he does and certainly an outstanding option if he does not.
Kelan Martin has NBA potential.
Watching Kelan Martin during his first six games as a collegiate player, it is apparent that Martin has the ability to be one of the very best to ever don a Butler uniform and could potentially move on to the NBA when his time is done at Butler.
Martin has been ready to play from the opening tip of the season. The freshman wing is averaging 10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game. He is shooting 45.3% from the field including 6/21 (28.6%) from 3-point range. He is also shooting 73.3% from the free throw line.
It's no surprise that Martin is beginning his collegiate career well. In the offseason observers spoke about Martin's potential and his ability to score. They also compared him to former Butler-star Gordon Hayward.
Time will tell what success Kelan Martin finds at Butler, but his potential is at the next level.
At 6-foot-6, 215-pound Martin has the frame to grow into a solid shooting guard or small forward in the NBA. He has the ability to score the ball in a variety of ways including attacking the basket or stepping out the 3-point line.