Top Four

One of the top players in the East has West Virginia in his top four, according to his AAU coach.

Da'Sean Butler lists West Virginia, Georgetown, St. Joseph's and DePaul as his favorites, according to Galen Smith, Butler's AAU mentor. Smith was in Morgantown to coach Team Jersey Elite's 17-and-under and 16-and-under teams.

Butler, a 6-6 small forward, was also expected at the Hoop Group Jam Fest this weekend. Instead, he attended the Play, Inc. SAT camp at Mt. Holyoke College, in Hymdal, Mass. The camp, run by Five-Star Basketball's Dennis Jackson, is designed for senior-to-be players who have not qualified academically.

That's not a worry for West Virginia. Butler's GPA is solid, Smith said, and the small forward is also expected to attain the required SAT score. Butler went just to ensure that he would get an entrance-qualifying score on his first try.

"It was his dad's idea," Smith said. "He wants to make sure Da'Sean makes it without having to retake the test."

Butler has offers from Georgetown, DePaul, West Virginia and Richmond, according to Smith. Scout.com list's St. Joe's as also offering.

"He is wide open," Smith said, "but would like to play in the Big East."

Richmond was originally the front-runner. Butler, a three-star (of five) recruit, wants to play no more than six hours from his home in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

When former Richmond head coach Jerry Wainwright was hired at DePaul (when DePaul?s Dave Leitao resigned April 15 to take a similar position at Virginia), he took his entire staff, and Butler?' interest, with him.

The only knock on the Blue Demons is the 781-mile, 12.5-hour drive from New Jersey, which increased West Virginia's chances.

Butler will make an official visit Sept. 10-11, when WVU's football team faces Wofford. It will be the another selling point - albeit perhaps small - as Butler's other slated visits, to DePaul, Georgetown and St. Joe's, will not be centered around the school's second major athletics team. Butler has already unofficially visited St. John's and St. Joe's.

"He can play everything from one to four," Smith said. "He is highly skilled and has a very high basketball IQ. He flat out knows how to play and is a system guy."

That obviously fits West Virginia's mold. And with Butler expected to continue growing (he went from 6-5 to what Smith calls "almost 6-7" in two years), his potential keeps expanding as well.

"He really will do everything," Smith said. "He might not score 12 points, but he'll get you double-digits rebounds and assists, too. He is a possible triple-double guy because of his all-around game."

NOTES

  • WVU recruit Dennis Horner's South Jersey Select AAU team lost in the quarterfinals. Horner, who was injured in the Hoop Group Jam Fest's opening-round game, did not play in Select's final three contests.

    Horner said he expects to announce his college choice sometime in the next 7-10 days. He lists West Virginia as a favorite.

  • The D-I Greyhounds were beaten in the semifinals by Blessed IJN (In Jesus' Name), 55-53 on a buzzer-beater by Zach Payton.

    The Greyhounds were led by Bill Walker's 19 points. JuJuan Brown, O.J. Mayo's cousin and an rising senior, added 13. Mayo scored 10 points, but allowed the buzzer-beater on Payton's turnaround jumper.

    Mayo, the nation's top-rated rising junior, and Walker, rated No. 5, both list West Virginia as a possible college choice. Mayo indicated he wanted to go to a major college, but "not for four years."

    Brown, a 6-8 forward, is considering transferring to Mayo and Walker's North College Hill High in Cincinnati. He is arguably the most complete player of all three for their age. Brown played last season at Biloxi (Miss.) High.

    Blessed was led by Alex Davis' 18 points. Marques Johnson, a Tennessee recruit, added 15, while Payton scored 12.


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