DePaul coach Dave Leitao picked up his second commitment for the class of 2017 today with a verbal commitment from Fort Wayne, Indiana native Jaylen Butz.
“When I went on the visit, it was a great experience," Butz said of his visit to Chicago. "The coaching staff took me in as if I was a player already. The guys welcomed me as if I was a player. Everything was just great. I just felt like that was somewhere I wanted to play because of how they treated me while I was there.”
The coaching staff was glad to hear the news of Butz's commitment today.
"Coach Leitao was definitely excited," said Jaylen. "(Assistant) Coach (Billy) Garrett came and saw me yesterday at open gym. He was excited just to see me and be around. They were excited to get their guy."
Jaylen Butz happens to be an AAU teammate and good friend of DePaul’s first commit for 2017 in 4-star point guard Justin Roberts from Indianapolis. The pair both took their official visits to DePaul the weekend of September 8th.
Having someone he already knows as a teammate no doubt played a role in Butz’s decision to commit to the Blue Demons today.
“I’ve been around him since fourth grade," Butz said of Roberts. "We played together since fourth grade. I’m real close to his family. He’s real close to mine. He’s more like a brother to me. So that definitely was a plus.”
The 6-9 big man from Fort Wayne North Side High School chose DePaul over offers from Ball State, Indiana State, Kent State, Oakland, Toledo and UIC. Butz was also receiving recent interest from Arkansas, Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota.
The DePaul coaching staff had been recruiting Butz for quite some time now after watching Butz and Roberts play together on Spiece Indy Heat throughout the spring and summer. Leitao offered Butz a scholarship during his unofficial visit to DePaul’s campus in June.
DePaul’s interest in Butz during the summer didn’t wane as Spiece Indy Heat won the championships of both the Brawl for the Ball in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the GRBA tournament in Butz’s hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Butz is an athletic power forward who counts running the floor among his biggest strengths. With his speed and size he is able to take advantage of mismatches in the front court.
“Definitely, being able to run the floor,” said Butz. “Guys who are guarding me aren’t as fast as me. Just rebounding, staying around the rim and being active around the rim is definitely something that helps me.”
Butz was listed as one of the biggest potential sleepers of the summer of 2016 by Scout.com.
At the Nike Peach Jam in July, Butz averaged 8.2 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game for Spiece while playing 19.2 minutes per game.
In Nike EYBL play in the spring, Jaylen averaged 7.8 points per game and grabbed 5.4 rebounds per game in just 14.9 minutes per game.
Butz and Roberts will be joining the Blue Demons right as they are opening their new arena in Chicago's South Loop in 2017.
“That’s definitely something that I’m looking forward to," Jaylen said. "To be able to open a new arena, that’s something that everybody would dream about. The program is going up. I want to come in and play a big role and help the program become even more dominant.”
For now, Jaylen is looking forward to finishing out his senior year in Fort Wayne on a high note.
“Eveybody’s plan is to win a state championship title," said Jaylen. "That’s my main goal right now. Personally, I’d like to do more shooting for the team. Last year we didn’t have too many shooters. I’d like to be able to step out and knock down some shots for the team. My coach has mentioned me bringing the ball up a lot more. Just some things that I didn’t do too much of last year, that I’d like to do this year.”
The Blue Demons now have two scholarships remaining for their 2017 recruiting class.