After serving a suspension for violations of team policy, 7-1 255 pound senior center Keith Butler has now returned to practicing with the DePaul men's basketball team. "The circumstance of what caused this not only from my part, but from the Athletic Department and the University's stance, certainly it was not fair that he be a part of what we were doing in the early part of the year in the stance of our team rules," said Jerry Wainwright. "He has been able to at least to this point fulfill what was set out for him. He's obviously in a zero tolerance situation for the rest of the year. Hopefully he'll be able to understand not only the gravity of his mistake, but also appreciate the fact that the university would allow him to be given a second chance. That's not to be taken lightly. Very few people in life get a chance like he has to redeem himself after a mistake. I like to think that he'll follow through on everything off the court that's necessary for him to be part of our team."
While Butler wasn't able to participate in team activities, he had been working out away from the team. "He's day-to-day," Wainwright said on Butler's availability. "It's encouraging that he did work on his own. He did nothing with the team. He was not part of any locker room strength situation, practice situation, or anything during this whole quarter. First and foremost, conditioning will be an issue and then there is timing. How do you interface him with the team is the next thing."
While there may have been some initial feelings of betrayal on the part of Butler's teammates, they have all welcomed him back with open arms. "He was an excellent practice player last year," Wainwright said. "He had established confidence in his teammates with his play last year in practice. I'm encourage by the fact that his teammates have accepted him back and are trying to help him get up to speed. He made a mistake, but everybody on the team has made mistakes in their life."
Due to the differences between working out on his own and full competition, Butler is dealing with some initial soreness. Yet Keith has already contributed by making center Wesley Green better in practice everyday. "It's certainly a big boost for practice," Jerry remarked. "Because now we have another big body and it's really helped our practice situation."
Keith Butler: Back In The Fold
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