USA: Brian Butch Spotlight

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – What do you get when you take an asthmatic center, bring him to 6,000 feet above sea level and put him in a game that is the equivalent of a continuous 48-minute fast break?

You get a difficult week at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival for Brian Butch.

Through the three games of round robin, Butch averaged 7.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. For the Wisconsin seven-footer who averaged over 30 points at the Tournament of Champions, a total of 21 points on 13 field goal attempts over three games, coupled with limited playing time, would assumedly be frustrating.

But you wouldn't know it by talking to him.

"I just love to play basketball," he said with a wide grin, "so I try to make the best of the opportunity that I have.

"The [altitude] is tough, but you get used to it and you've got to play through it. It's hard when the game is run-run-run, but you've got to roll with it. When it slows down, I try to get my positioning and get some shots."

Analyst Dave Telep said, "All you can do is keep a positive attitude and he's not the only one in that position. He's done enough in the spring to prove his worth. I think the way you handle situations like this says a lot about the kid. For a number of reasons, this just isn't his weekend."

The elite programs that are on Butch's list are already sold on his talents, indicated by the scholarships offers all have made. And Butch has yet to narrow down the list.

"There are still eight schools," he said. "Maybe after this I'll cut it down, but I'm not quite sure."

The local University of Wisconsin will provide stiff competition to the national powerhouses, but Butch insists that he isn't leaning in any direction.

"I'm just going to go to the best place that makes me happy," he said.

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