Wisconsin freshman Brian Butch announced Monday afternoon that he will use his redshirt and sit out the 2003-04 season.
"I have decided to redshirt this year," Butch said via a press release. "I appreciate the understanding and support of my teammates, coaches, family and friends. This is the best thing for me right now and I think it is the best way I can help the team in the long run. I will do everything I can to help this program and the university during the time I am sitting out. Thank you to everyone for understanding this decision."
Following Wisconsin's 102-95 win over the Charleston Lowgators Monday evening, Badger coach Bo Ryan reiterated that the decision was entirely up to Butch and that he respected his decision and stood by it.
When asked about Butch's thought process during the decision, Ryan replied, "Well nothing changed from a year ago to now about him being physically prepared and knowing what he is going up against. It isn't about his basketball IQ, it isn't about anything other than developing strength and stamina and I don't know how many times you could say it until people will understand but I'll be patient."
Ryan expects his veteran forward to also benefit from Butch's decision to redshirt via the freshman's work with the scout team.
"He is ready to go in practice," Ryan said. "He is ready to kill us from the scout team. He will learn a lot over there. The guys that I've that have been on the scout team, the guys that have redshirted…those guys always get better. It never fails."
Butch has previously stated that he looked to Mike Wilkinson, who redshirted three years ago in an effort to get stronger, as an example as he made his decision.
"He knows it has happened. He is just one individual making a decision based on his observations," Ryan said. "The observations he made was that he needs a little more time.
"Well, we don't talk about weight, we just talk about strength—that is not something you get into now with players but there are people who are in different stages when they come out of high school, physically, stamina-wise. This is common for players of his stature, of his build, more common than of players at any other position, at any other size. I can't believe it is that much of a; that people don't understand this. It is pretty simple to me. He is just a fine young man who is going to help this program for a long time and I think its tremendous that he has the courage—it took guts to do this."
Butch will participate in all practices and attend all games, home and away.