A look at: Desean Butler

BlueGoldNews.com watched the games of the Red Oxen at West Virginia's basketball camp last week. Here's a look at an individual player and what he might bring to the Mountaineers this season. Up now, athletic addition Desean Butler.

The only Scout.com four-star rated player in the 2006 class, Butler combines a solid basketball IQ with great athletic ability. He showcased an edge in driving the ball and finishing or stepping back for the three-pointer, a rare mix in John Beilien's first four Mountaineer teams. He hit multiple outside shots in every game watched, and was willing to drive and take a bump and finish more than any other player on the Red Oxen.

He could be seen as a Tyrone Sally-like player in that he plays long and can go by a defender and stuff it. But Butler also already has a better outside shot than did Sally upon his arrival, and his toughness and mentality likely won't allow him to be upstaged by other players in the program. He also enjoys the team game, and told BlueGoldNews.com that "when (the Mountaineers) run their stuff and do what they are supposed to do, I don't think there is another team in the country that can beat them."

At 6-7 and 206 pounds – up from 187 at the start of his senior season – Butler's body is big enough to at least begin to take the grinding of the Big East. He will, as all players do, need to add strength and get better conditioned. But he showed no signs of slowing at WVU's team basketball camp, even late in games (that were, admittedly, against much weaker competition, both individually and in team-play). That will be better-tested in West Virginia's practices and early-season games, and fans should keep on eye on how Butler responds to bigger-bodied players.

Butler's slide-step, quickness and reach are major defensive assets. There are not many players who will explode by him when he reaches his peak, and he recorded a pair of blocks in all three games viewed. He has no qualms about, as football head coach Rich Rodriguez would say, "putting his face on you," especially going to the rim or defending an attempted drive, and he can recover and block players his same size, or even slightly taller, from behind.

But when he gets under the rim, Butler doesn't have Jacob Green's rebounding ability, or Cam Thoroughman's physicality. It might be a lack of strength, or just that he has not drilled that fundamental of yet, but the Bloomfield, N.J. native needs work on the boards. He has the arms to get many boards that he should not be able to reach. And his jumping ability is solid, so if Beilein and the rest of the coaching staff can merely work him into feeling more comfortable inside without the ball, then putbacks and possible tip-ins or dunks could really add another finishing element to his game.

Butler will be a great addition to West Virginia's 1-3-1 on the wings because of his body and quickness. And, on a breakout, he can finish as well as any other incoming player. He will likely be tried early at multiple positions, from two to four, and appears especially at ease in the swing slot. He can also contribute in the passing game, and has perhaps the best all-around game that's styled to Big East play than any other recruit.

That's not to write that Butler is not a system player, because that, along with location, was one of the major selling points of West Virginia. Combine that with his athleticism, and WVU has the makings of a solid player who will contribute immediately, at least as a reserve in any of three positions, and perhaps as a starter.

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