OSU Signee Butler Named Mr. Basketball

The Associated Press has named OSU signee Jamar Butler as the state's Mr. Basketball award winner for 2003-04. Butler, a high scoring guard from Lima Shawnee, will be the fifth Mr. Basketball award winner to play for the Buckeyes. Click this free link for more.

OSU signee Jamar Butler tonight became the 17th recipient of Mr. Basketball in the state of Ohio, awarded annually by The Associated Press to the state's best player.

The point guard for Lima Shawnee finished the season averaging 30.5 points a game and nearly nine assists per game. Butler, who shot 45 percent from the field this season, has already received player of the year awards for the Lima News, the Northwest District in Division II, as well as the state's player of the year in Division II. His team ended up 17-5. He ended his career as Ohio's 10th-leading all-time scorer with 2,412 points.

"It would mean a lot, it's something I've always wanted to get," Butler told the Lima News earlier this week. "It's been on my mind a little bit, wondering if I'll get it."

The guesswork has now been eliminated for Butler, as he becomes the first person in four seasons besides LeBron James to win the award. James won it in 2001, 2002, and 2003 becoming the first person to win the award three times as well as becoming the first sophomore to win the award.

Most notably for Buckeye fans, Butler joins Tony Stockman, Damon Stringer, Greg Simpson, and Jim Jackson as just the fifth player to win the award and go on to play for the Buckeyes. Only Jackson, who won the award in its first two seasons, signed with Ohio State out of high school and actually finished his career with Ohio State.

While it was Butler's scoring totals that ultimately won him this honor, it will be his passing ability that endears him as a complete player.

"That is his game, it truly is," Shawnee coach Jeff Heistan said. "His game is to deliver the basketball. Not just pass it, but he creates assists. He has such great vision that he finds people and finds baskets. He's such a dangerous player because he can take it to the basket but he also will find an open man."

Butler initially committed to Cincinnati following his sophomore year, but a change in heart this past summer has him going to Columbus to play for Ohio State next season.

"Matt was coming to UC with me," Butler said. "Then when he committed to Ohio State, things changed. I started thinking about my choice and what was best for me personally."

Butler actually only becomes the 14th player to win this award since its inception in 1988. This is the 17th year Mr. Basketball has been handed down, but three players, Jim Jackson, Greg Simpson, and James, have won the award multiple times.

The only time in the award's history there has been a tie, was in 2000 where Stockman and Chester Mason of Cleveland South shared the award.

Past winners of the award are as follows: James in 2003, 2002, and 2001; Stockman and Mason in 2000; Emmanuel Smith of Euclid in 1999; Williams "Sonny" Johnson of Garfield Heights in 1998, Kenny Gregory of Columbus Independence in 1997; Jason Collier of Springfield Central Catholic in 1996; Damon Stringer of Cleveland Heights in 1995; Aaron Hutchins of Lima Central Catholic in 1994; Geno Ford of Cambridge in 1993; Simpson of Lima Senior in 1992 and 1991; Bob Patton of Youngstown Liberty in 1990; and lastly Jackson of Toledo Macomber in 1989 and 1988.

Butler beat out Cincinnati Moeller center Andrew Brackman, Cincinnati North College Hill freshman O.J. Mayo, Korey Spates of Warrensville Heights, Jamelle Cornley of Columbus Brookhaven and Bellaire's Nate Davis.

Butler will now turn his attention to the first annual adidas High School Classic, being played in Knoxville, Tenn. Butler will join an impressive group of players including Sebastian Telfair and Darius Washington on the East squad. The game is Friday night at 8 p.m. at Thompson-Bowling Arena. No immediate television plans are known at this time.

More on Jamar Butler can be seen in the upcoming April edition of Bucknuts the Magazine as well as the spring edition of Ohio High magazine.

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