Butch emerging as elite prospect

<i>Inside Carolina</i>'s Jeff Goodman spoke to Brian Butch, the Wisconsin junior post player, about the frontrunners on his college list and his rising stock on the recruiting trail.

While Brian Butch is doing his best to keep his "leaders" quiet, sources tell us that Arizona and Wisconsin are the two front-runners.

Butch, a 6-11, 220-pound junior from Appleton (WI)West, took an official visit to Tucson two weeks ago and said he got a lot of questions answered by Lute Olson & Co.

He has also taken unofficial trips to Iowa, Wisconsin and Marquette. Butch, whose game somewhat resembles that of former Kansas and current Dallas Mavericks forward Raef LaFrentz, averaged 21 points and 12 boards per game last season and has a 3.8 GPA.

The other schools he mentioned as legitimate possibilities include Kansas and Tennessee. Stanford, Iowa, Marquette and North Carolina are also in the mix, but aren't thought to be serious contenders for his services at this point in time. However, that could change when he takes more official visits and if either Kansas or UNC officially offer Butch a scholarship.

"They are the only two who haven't offered yet," he said.

Thanks in part to a sensational performance at last weekend's Spiece event, Butch has all of the sudden become a hot commodity on the recruiting trail -- and Carolina is taking notice.

"UNC had Butch on their radar but he was not one of their primary targets. We'll see if his performance last weekend changes that," writes TheInsidersHoops.com's Dave Telep, who thinks UNC would join Arizona and Kansas as the team's to beat should the Heels and the Jayhawks step up their recruitment.

Butch's newfound elite status on the recruiting circuit has been somewhat of a surprise – even to him.

"I never thought this would all happen," said Butch, who plays in the summer for the Fox Valley Skillz. "I was in amazement. Now that they're looking at me, I've got to start looking at them. And not just about basketball."

Butch will likely base his decision on how he fits in with the coaching staff and players as well as academics.

"I liked Arizona a lot and I think everybody knows that I also like Wisconsin," Butch added.

However, Butch realizes that he may not be the top target for the Wildcats, who are also heavy in pursuit of David Padgett and Ekene Ibewe of Carson High (Calif.).

"It worries me that a great opportunity may be taken away, but I don't think I have enough info to make a decision yet," he said. "I want to see what Wisconsin will do for my official visit and I'm also talking to Tennessee and Kansas."

"But Wisconsin isn't a school to beat. I don't have a school to beat right now. That's what is making this tougher."

Related Links:
IC's Brian Butch Profile

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